Save the earth, buy a real tree

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.

Even greener

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.

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