Silence of the lamb chops

One of my ‘other duties as assigned’ this time of year involves serving as The Christmas tree Guy and responding to various media inquiries about Christmas trees. Last week I posted a link to a media story about Christmas trees on the Garden Professor Facebook page. That post drew a response from Kyle Fletcher Baker who derided cut Christmas trees as “murder of the innocent.” My initial reaction was, “Jeez, Kyle we’re talking about fir trees here not lamb chops or veal.” But Kyle’s post serves as a reminder that there are many people that object to cutting trees for Christmas decoration – no word on how these folks feel about cut flower arrangements but that’s another story. In some cases this objection stems from the belief that Christmas trees are cut from native stands of trees. In fact, virtually all Christmas trees sold at tree lots are grown on tree farms for that expressed purpose.

tree farm

There is also a sizable portion of the population that believe artificial trees are more environmentally responsible than using a live tree. My personal opinion is this is a fairly small factor in most people’s tree buying decisions but the question persists and seems to get a lot of media play. The American Christmas Tree Association (a trade group that represents artificial tree retailers NOT tree growers) commissioned a life cycle analysis (LCA), which estimated cradle-to-grave carbon footprints for real and fake trees. The bottom-line of the study is that the impact of both is negligible. The tipping point is how far you drive to get a real tree each year and how long you keep your artificial tree. If you get your real tree close to home or combine getting your real tree with other trips, the carbon footprint of the real tree comes out better.


But if the thought of cutting a real tree is still more than your conscience can bear, there is a third option: a living Christmas tree. Many nurseries and Christmas tree farms offer container-grown or balled-and-burlapped trees that can be planted outdoors after the holidays. There are even companies springing up on the west that specialize in live Christmas tree rentals. These companies bring a tree into your house and then pick it back up after the holiday. Some will offer a certificate that the tree will be planted in a park or national forest after its display.

living treee


Working out the bugs

It’s December and I hereby vow to post every week from now on! I’ve actually been on the blog behind the scenes for the last several weeks troubleshooting the archives. We transferred over four years of material from the old site, and there are still some rough patches. And that’s where you can help.

If you have been browsing the archives (listed on the right hand menu) or searching for topics (the search box is in the upper right corner just below the Garden Professors banner where the little magnifying glass lurks), you may have found odd line breaks, broken links, missing pictures, etc. in the posts and the comments. Or you might be searching for a particular post on the internet and end up with a 404 error page instead of the blog. It’s easy for me to fix these problems, but finding them takes some time.

So if you, our faithful readers, find these problems and post them below. We’ll have a contest: the top three contributors of bugs, breaks and boo-boos will each win a swell prize! (Not telling what the prizes are. You will have to wait and see.)

In the meantime, enjoy this photo of my husband Jim as we searched for the perfect Christmas tree last Friday.

Xmas tree hunt