From: Ryan McDaniel
Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006
Subject: third xmas tree option?
Everyone knows about the two options available for xmas trees--real or fake. But what about this one: get a variety of pine that only grows to the average height of a cut xmas tree (about 8 feet?), and just bring it in every year. Or if there is no xmas-looking tree that only grows to this height, you may be able to keep it the right height by pruning its roots like a bonsai tree, which would make it easier to bring inside too. And then the amount of oxygen produced by the trees would be greater than the amount that you talk about on your website because the trees would be alive and photosynthesizing all year long. And there would be no need to recycle them. Do you think this is possible? Is there a variety of tree that would work?
Answer: hmmm...OK. Interesting idea. Actually one of the more interesting emails we've received in a while. The first thing I would say is that many people in fact enjoy buying a Christmas Tree with the roots still intact and then plant it in their yard after Christmas. These are often sold as Ball and Burlap or potted trees. This is a great option if you have a big yard that needs trees and can follow some specific guidelines http://www.christmastree.org/livecare.cfm .
Next, I would say that none of the conifers used as Christmas Trees are going to stop growing at 8 feet, and even if they did, digging them up multiple years in a row would probably kill it. I suppose you could keep shearing off the leader each year to keep it at 8 feet tall, but the tree would respond by growing VERY wide.
And, at the risk of sounding lecture-ish (which is not my intent), the point about trees grown on farms producing oxygen is made mostly because the trees on farms wouldn't be there if they weren't planted by farmers for the purpose of being harvested. There are an estimated 500 million trees on 21,000 acres of tree farms growing and producing oxygen. Young, small, fast-growing trees produce a lot of oxygen while "trapping" carbon in the plant tissue. I'm not sure you could convince homeowners to plant that many trees to replace those grown by farmers.