View Full Version : Are artificial Christmas trees more environmentally friendly?
One of Britain's best-known organic gardeners has angered traditionalists by buying a plastic Christmas tree this year.
In his column in Amateur Gardening magazine Bob Flowerdew, 52, a regular panellist on Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time, challenges the way that Britons take real trees into their homes and "slowly torture them to death".
He says buying an artificial tree - and saving a real tree from death over Christmas - is more environmentally friendly.
But British Christmas Tree Growers Association secretary Roger Hay said: "While Christmas trees are growing they do all the good things trees do for the environment.
"When they are cut, they are immediately replaced. But artificial trees are shipped around the world and cannot break down, clogging landfill sites for 1,000 years."
Although I always have gone for a natural christmas tree in the past, this year I am going to get one with roots so I can plant it after Christmas on my allotment for use again next year.
I already have an artificial tree, so I'm sticking with it, as it would be less environmentally friendly to send it to an early landfill grave ;)
Besides, look at all the fuel it's saving me going shopping for it, the power saved not hoovering up it's needles, the energy saved not having it chipped afterwards..... need I go on? ;)
I've also toyed with the idea of more radical expressions of a conical form to dangle my decorations off - but I'm never organised enough come december to indulge in such nonsense :hihi:
I've been thinking about this one for ages - whether to buy a decent fake one or not. I think I've come to the conclusion that I should go for a real one but get it from a local grower. The growing tree will absorb carbon dioxide in the air and I believe that a young tree absorbs more than an old tree (someone will probably correct me on this...). This I think would therefore encourage more tree planting and thus possibly more carbon dioxide locked up in the wood instead of in the air.
As for Mr Flowerdew's comment on torture... well it's a tree isn't it and unless Terry Pratchett is right, they don't have a conciousness- I'm sure Mr Flowerdew has tortured many plants in his time by removing limbs and restraining them!
After saying last night that I was going to get a tree with roots, I get home and find my housemate has beat me to it and already bought a tree which has been cut down.:(
I've looked into rooting powder, but apparently there is nothing strong enough to bring it back from death row.
I'll just have to follow the advice below to prolong it's life as long as possible.
Watering Cut Christmas Trees
The critical step in setting up a cut tree is to first saw about a half an inch slice off the bottom of the trunk before setting the tree in its holder. The tree cannot absorb water in the holder if that slice was not taken first. A common mistake is to cut the slice, set up the tree, put water in the holder and then go for a day or two before checking to see if there is still water in the tree’s holder. A tree that has been cut for a few weeks is going to suck in over two gallons of water in the first few hours after cutting the slice and mounting the tree. That is one reason to have a tree stand that will hold at least a gallon of water. On the first day of setting up the tree, check the water level every hour or two. Once the tree quenches that initial thirst, it will use several quarts of water each day that it is in the house.
If you did not cut the slice off the bottom of the trunk or if you have left the tree stand get dry for more than a day, that tree cannot absorb water.
Well we went looking yesterday and found a 4ft Nordic fir for a tenner and it still has roots - bargain :) So looks like it's a real tree this year with roots!
I'm with Strix on this one- since I already have an artificial tree, wasting that one would be less environmentally friendly overall.
If I was going to have a real tree, it would have to be a rooted one, but then I'd have nowhere to put it afterwards, so I would have to hope that someone could supply me with a site to plant it afterwards.
Well we went looking yesterday and found a 4ft Nordic fir for a tenner and it still has roots - bargin :) So looks like it's a real tree this year with roots!
We/I did have an artificial tree, but i bought it for my little room in my old house, somehow a 2ft tree just doesn't look much in our new house. either way were were probably going to get a new tree this year... and i've never (in my memory) had a real one :D
We have an artificial tree and have had it for a few years. I'd had it with needle drop to be honest. I also have a newish korean fir growing in a pot in the garden, which is supposed to bear blue fir cones when it gets a bit older. I think this is the best compromise. I love real trees, but I feel quite guilty about having one chopped down for me just to trim it up for a few days, and I also feel sad to see it dying. Then there's the disposal problem!