Dec 14, 2010 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
I’m of a certain generation – the generation that grew up during the popularization of the artificial Christmas tree.
I remember clearly the day I learned my family wouldn’t be getting a real tree for the holidays. I might have been 6 at the time, and as far as I know, nothing else happened that day.
My parents had a good reason for going to a fake tree – one of my siblings was allergic to pine. Of course, to a six-year-old, this was hardly an acceptable excuse. But even at that young age, I was mature enough to see right through their promise to make up for it by lighting a few pine-scented candles.
I don’t think I’m alone in my experience of losing a real tree at a critical age, so when Rob Brown, owner of Brown’s Three B Tree Nursery in Jordan, told me last week that he’d seen a trend among people in their 20s and 30s, my ears perked up.
As executive director for the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, Brown talks to a lot of tree farm owners. From his informal research, he’s gathered that young adults are coming out to tree farms in higher numbers – partially motivated, he suspects, by a desire to be “green.” He pointed out that when you buy a fake tree, it often ends up in the landfill within three years.
“Real trees create oxygen,” Brown said. “Artificial trees create nothing.”
When my parents first bought a fake tree, one of their reasons was to protect the environment. This logic doesn’t seem to hold up like it used to.
“There’s at least one, if not two, trees planted for every one that’s cut down,” Brown said of farms across the state.
After talking to Brown, I stopped by Dusart Nursery in Camillus and asked owner Jim Dusart if he’d noticed the trend of younger buyers.
“I see it off and on but I can’t say 100 percent that I see it in a strong way,” Dusart said, noting that most of his customers are his age and up. He did, however, point to another means of “going green.”
On top of selling cut trees from farms in Tully and Pulaski, Dusart sells live blue spruces. He had already sold out of them when we talked.
“You can take a potted or a bulb tree into the house, decorate it – you don’t keep it in there as long as you would a cut tree – and then you take it out and put it in the ground,” Dusart said
When Dusart sells a live tree, he tells his customers to dig a hole as soon as they get home in a place where the soil will not freeze, and to cover it with leaves or a board. When it comes time to plant the tree, they’ll want to be prepared.
“If you’ve got to go out there and shovel off three feet of snow, do that and plant the tree,” he said.
Is there anything greener than digging through snow to plant a tree? So long as you don’t forget to first take the lights off, I can’t think of a more sustainable way to celebrate the season.