December 03, 2003
For decades, American Forests has encouraged the commercial growing of Christmas trees and the use and planting of living trees. The gift of a living National Christmas Tree was American Forests' way of urging the use of living Christmas trees as a conservation measure. Before the Christmas tree industry, people cut trees from the wild, sometimes illegally, and always with little consideration for the continuance of the forest.
The Benefits of Christmas Trees
It takes a Christmas tree an average of five to 16 years to grow, and as they grow, Christmas trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases while giving off fresh oxygen. Every acre of Christmas trees planted gives off enough oxygen to meet the needs of 18 people. Today in America there are enough Christmas trees planted that 18 million people a day are supplied with oxygen. Also, the farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide a refuge for wildlife while creating a scenic view. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soil that will not support any other crops. In addition, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, when one Christmas tree is cut down, one or two are planted in its place-an average of 56 million trees each year.
Keeping a Live Christmas Tree
American Forests recommends enjoying live Christmas trees because of the many environmental benefits of planting trees. If you have space for a "ball and burlapped" or containerized tree, and can provide the extra care this type of tree requires, it's well worth the additional cost and effort. First, decide where to plant your tree, and prepare the area. Remember, your Christmas tree will be a full-grown tree someday. To care for your living Christmas tree, keep the root ball of your replantable tree moist at all times. After 7-10 days of indoor appreciation, move the tree to a protected place outdoors for several days to help it make the adjustment from a warm house. Your local nursery should be able to answer any questions you have concerning the care of your tree. As soon as you can, plant the tree in the hole you previously prepared (if your area is frost-prone). If you don't have the space, check with a local tree-planting group to see if it has a program to accommodate your tree.
Purchasing, Care, and Disposal of a Cut Christmas tree: The Seven Basic Rules
The Christmas Tree Tradition
Trees haven't always been a
part of the Christmas tradition. Some historians believe the
Egyptians and Romans used some form of an evergreen to decorate
their homes. It is generally agreed that the first use of a tree
as part of the Christian Christmas celebration was started over
400 years ago by the Germans. Eventually, the Christmas tree
came to America by Hessian mercenaries, paid to fight for the
British during the Revolutionary War. In 1804, soldiers stationed
at a fort near Chicago hauled trees to their barracks during
Christmas, and in 1842, a German named Charles Minnegerode introduced
the custom of decorated Christmas trees in Williamsburg, Virginia.
His tree was described as being "splendidly decorated"
with strings of popcorn, nuts, and lighted candles. By 1900,
one in five American families decorated trees during Christmas
and by 1930, the tree had become a nearly universal part of the
American Christmas tradition.
Source of News Release: