University of Vermont Extension
Winter (holiday) News
Department of Plant and Soil Science
FACTS ABOUT CHRISTMAS
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Knowing a few facts about Christmas trees
and their production will give you a new appreciation of them this
season, and may help you choose between a real tree and an artificial
trees are grown on farms like other crops.
To ensure enough trees for harvest, growers plant one to three
for every tree harvested. An estimated
40 to 45 million trees were planted in 2007 in North America.
tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge
wildlife. Often these trees can be grown
on poor soils where other crops wont grow.
About a half million acres are used in this country to grow Christmas
trees, preserving much green space.
acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people.
The trees on farms in this country currently
provide enough oxygen for 18 million people a day.
are an estimated 446 million trees growing on farms in this country.
trees are grown by about 21,000 farms in this country, which employ
100,000 people either full or part time.
to grow a tree (6 to 7 feet) for sale can vary from 4 to 15 years, with
average being 7.
25 to 30 million real trees are sold in this country every year.
selling trees include balsam fir, Fraser fir, and Scotch pine.
top tree growing states are Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan,
many real trees in the north are locally grown, supporting local
over 80 percent of artificial trees worldwide are made in China.
chemicals and few pesticides (if any) are used on real trees, with
showing no residues on harvested trees.
Artificial trees are often plastic, and may contain the dangerous
chemical PVC. Manufacture of PVC creates
the most toxic man-made chemicals, dioxins.
Artificial trees also may contain metal toxins such as lead.
trees in home, both real and artificial, account for less than
one-tenth of one
percent of all home fires, according to the National Fire Protection
Association. Real trees kept fresh are
difficult to ignite.
Christmas trees are recyclable, often chipped into mulch at local
centers. The average family uses an
artifical tree for 6 to 9 years before discarding, where it will remain
landfills for centuries as they are not recyclable.
study by Swedish researchers found that, considering all the inputs, a
tree is five times more environmentally compatible than an artifical
More facts on Christmas trees,
including their history and how to care for them, are available from
National Christmas Tree Association (www.christmastree.org).
Return to Perry's Perennial