Here is an interesting statement from the National Christmas Tree Association:
MYTH #4: It's better to use a fake tree because you can re-use it each year.
BUSTED: That’s a very short-sighted perspective. According to research, most fake trees are only used 6 to 9 years before they’re disposed. Even if you would use one for 20 years or more, it will eventually be thrown away and end up in a landfill. And unlike Real Trees, which are biodegradable and recyclable, fake trees are always a burden to the environment.
For more myths and answers about Christmas trees, go to: http://www.christmastree.org/myths.cfm
Another commonly held belief is that a live, potted tree is better... well, it's a nice thought but more often than not, these trees, even when planted promptly after the holidays, do not live because they have either been exposed to drastic temperature and humidity changes or were not properly cared for. So is it worth it to buy a potted tree instead of cutting one down? If you keep it outside and partially bury the pot - possibly but then you miss out on having that Christmas Tree scent in your home!
More Christmas Tree Facts from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service:
- Real Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Artificial trees contain non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins such as lead.
- There are more than 4,000 local Christmas Tree recycling programs throughout the United States.
- For every Real Christmas Tree harvested, 1 to 3 seedlings are planted the following spring.
- There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas Trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.
The following evergreen tree species or types are sold and grown in the United States for Christmas Trees and are thought of as the best for different characteristics.
Fir Trees: Common name (Botanical name)
Balsam Fir – (Abies balsamea) – Native to the northeastern United States, the Balsam Fir is named for the balsam or resin found in blisters on bark. The needles are flat, ¾” to 1 ½” long rounded at the tip and generally last long on the branches. The color is dark green with silvery cast. Balsam Firs have good form and are fragrant. Factoid: Balsam fir oil is an EPA approved nontoxic rodent repellent.
|Needles of White Fir|
White Fir or Concolor Fir – (Abies concolor) – Commonly found in the western/northwestern US, the White Fir has blue-green needles are ½ to ½ inches long. They have a nice shape, good citrus-like aroma and good needle retention. White Fir is named for its light-colored bark and the silvery or "glaucous" color of its needles. Factoid: In nature the White Fir can live to 350 years.
|Douglas Fir branches|
Pine Trees - Common name (Botanical name):
White Pine – (Pinus strobus) – soft, blue-green needles, 2 to 5 inches long in bundles of five; retains needles throughout the holiday season; very full appearance; little or no fragrance; less allergic reactions as compared to more fragrant trees. Largest pine in Eastern United States; state tree of Michigan & Maine; slender branches will support fewer and smaller decorations as compared to Scotch pine. It’s wood is used in cabinets, interior finish and carving. Native Americans used the inner bark as food. Early colonists used the inner bark to make cough medicine. Good choice for families prone to allergies or sensitivities to fragrances. Caveat: Branching can be too dense for large ornaments. Needles can be too slippery and soft for heavy ornaments but it's soft appearance takes on an elegant appearance simply with just white lights.
|Scotch Pine branches|
Scotch Pine – (Pinus sylvestris) – Another common Christmas tree, the Scotch Pine is native to Europe and Asia and is predominant in Scotland. It is readily identified by its combination of fairly short, blue-green leaves and orange-red bark. It has stiff branches, stiff, dark green needles in pairs one inch long and holds needles for four weeks - needles will stay on even when dry which makes it very popular for indoor Christmas trees. It has open appearance and more room for ornaments and also keeps aroma throughout the season. The Scotch Pine was introduced into United States by European settlers. Factoid: Pinus sylvestris is the only pine native to northern England and is the National Tree of Scotland.
Spruce Trees - Common name (Botanical name):
|White Spruce branches|
White (or Canadian) Spruce – (Picea glauca) – Leaves (needles) are needle-shaped, and are often somewhat crowded on the upper half of the branchlets. Needles are usually 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, blunt at the tip and green to bluish-green in color. Crushed needles have an unpleasant odor but have good needle retention. As a Christmas tree, white spruce has excellent foliage color, short stiff needles and a good natural shape. Needle retention is better than some of other spruce species. Factoid: State tree of South Dakota.
|Blue Spruce branches|