The Benefits of a Sustainable Christmas Tree
Each and every day we are drawing closer to Christmas, and of course no Christmas is complete without a Christmas tree. You might be wondering just how eco-friendly a Christmas tree can really be? This is a reasonable concern to have, and it’s one that we are going to address, and hopefully give you a better insight in to Christmas trees, and what type is right for you. After all, we all like to try and live as sustainably as we can, so even a small change such as swapping out one Christmas tree for another, can make a big difference.
Artificial trees are the biggest point of contention; can they really be sustainable? The answer isn’t quite as black and white as you might imagine. Most artificial Christmas trees are made a combination of plastic and metal components, with a large proportion being produced using PVC (a type of plastic which has a very negative effect on the environment).
Not only is PVC unable to be recycled, with 100% of it being sent to landfill in the UK, it also means the majority of artificial tress are made in China (where most PVC products are produced). This results in a massive carbon footprint to ship them to the UK, a footprint which gets bigger every year as the population increases.
In order to offset the impact to the environment, you would have to re-use the same tree each year for up to 20 years, which seems unlikely for most people, but not impossible. The other alternative is to buy a pre-loved artificial tree, which would be less damaging than buying a new one.
Some people may be concerned that buying a real tree may promote deforestation or unsustainable logging practices, however there are ways to ensure this isn’t the case. First, if you are looking to buy a real tree for Christmas, look for an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved tree, this means that it is from a sustainable source.
One extra benefit of buying a real tree is that during the growing period, the tree will absorb carbon dioxide, while the soil will also trap ten times the amount of C02 as the tree.
If you buy a tree with the roots intact you can also keep it growing for future Christmases, just make sure to keep it well watered and cared for while it is indoors during the Christmas period.
If you don’t want to keep the tree, or can’t, one of the distinct advantages of buying a real tree is that it can easily be recycled in a variety of ways, with mulch or compost being an effective way to dispose of it.
Christmas trees require more attention than most people think, dependant on whether you have it indoors or outdoors a Christmas tree will also have different needs. Some people are unaware that when a tree is cut at the trunk, within twelve hours a strong resin will form where it was cut. As most trees will be pre-cut it's important to cut the trunk again before placing it in it's pot. This will enable the tree to absorb any water you feed it with.
Contrary to what some may believe, plain water will be the best option for your tree. If you have a water butt available, this can give you a constant supply for watering your tree.
If you're looking to plant a Christmas tree in your garden there are a few steps for watering it:
• 1-2 weeks after planting, water daily.
• 3-12 weeks after planting, water every 2 to 3 days.
• After 12 weeks, water weekly until roots are established.
Prior to planting, the tree should be kept in a pot with adequate drainage to ensure it does not become waterlogged.