Most years, we have the Christmas tree post here on Rant (here’s a great one); the topic is a source of mild controversy among gardeners, mainly because of the sustainability angle. It breaks down this way:
Just buy a cut tree
Trees are an agricultural product and buying from a local tree farm usually means you’re supporting a small independent business. The trees provide oxygen and wildlife habitat when they’re in the ground, a lovely scented focal point in the home, and then are recycled into municipal mulch in most communities (including mine). Win, win, win, win.
Buy a live tree and plant it
I have only one problem with this—where? This won’t work for those of us who don’t have a few acres sitting around empty waiting for evergreens to fill them up. But still, a nice idea, if you can do it. A quibble—most live trees I see are kind of puny.
Buy an artificial tree of some type
Personally, I hate these trees and think they’re kind of gross. However, I suppose there is a sustainability argument to be made, as they can be continually reused. But who made them, where were they made, and what are they made of? The answers to those questions can really undermine whatever benefit these trees have.
No tree at all
Actually, that’s where I am now. We don’t have kids, so we have the choice. We do have three mantelpieces and lots of other architectural features that will take lights and other décor. I also have several large houseplants that are just about the size of most live trees; they’re tough enough to stand up to a little decorating once a year. So instead of focusing on a tree, I bring in bales of cut branches, which gives me the choice of many different types of evergreens—juniper, cedar, firs, pine, spruce, etc.
And then there are all the forced bulbs that are coming up from the root cellar now. I have so much stuff already growing in my house that it just doesn’t seem necessary to haul in a cut tree. But I love visiting the beautifully decorated cut trees of my friends and relatives.