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Casa Verde: Save the Christmas Trees!

A recent This Old House article discussed the virtues of live Christmas trees. One family in the article brings in a live tree to trim indoors, and after the holiday is over, they plant the tree on their three-acre property. "You can look at it every year and think, remember when we did that?" points out landscape contractor Roger Cook. "It's fun for kids because you can point to it and say, 'That's your tree.' You can't do that when the tree's ground into wood chips."

Live trees are also fresher, and thus more fragrant, add value to your landscape property after they are planted, and can begin a family tradition. However, the trees are heavy, may cost twice as much as a cut tree, and cannot immediately be planted if you live in an area that gets a hard freeze. Still, I think it's a good option for folks who have some outdoor acreage to spare. I even know of a family in Berkeley who bought a live tree last year and then planted it in a local wildlife preserve after the holidays, so the possibilities are even there for apartment dwellers.

Is a live tree something that you would consider?

If you're curious, you can read the whole article here.


Join The Conversation
SillyGirl SillyGirl 9 years
Another option (since as another poster pointed out, they frequently die after you attempt to plant it) is to look for places who donate and plant the live trees later in poor neighborhoods. In SF, Friends of the Urban Forest drops off a live tree at your house, and then picks it up after the holidays and plants it for you in a needy area - all for the same price as buying a dead tree.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Yes, I agree, good post :)
Dolce Dolce 9 years
As much as a real tree would be great for the holidays, I find a good artificial is just as good
Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 9 years
Growing up in the desert, my family did this every year with a pinon (sorry for the lack of an enye) evergreen. A bonus was that later we could eat the pinon nuts harvested from our yard. Another advantage is that live trees shed far less needles than cut trees, so clean up was much easier. We learned that for pinons, the key to keeping your tree happy and alive is a daily checking of the humidity of the soil, as heaters can quickly dry the tree out.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
Yes, I don't feel very Christmas-spirited decorating a dying tree destined to be landfill mulch after the holidays.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
I read something that said that most people who try to do that actually end up killing the tree. So it's good in theory, but hard to do.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 9 years
This is exactly what we did growing up (many moons ago) and it was lots of fun. Yes we had property and lots of Cmas trees also.
julianka julianka 9 years
I've bought a live tree for the past several years, and if you live in an apartment, or you're just not looking to fill up your yard with evergreens, you can call your local Parks and Rec Department and arrange to donate the tree to a local park. But people should note that you can only keep keep live trees indoors for a week or so!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Casa, great post. I love love love Ask This Old House. Oh Roger Cook!! :love:
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