the 'green' dilema: fake or real tree - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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I've never understood why people think having a real tree isn't environmentally friendly. It's not as if they go and chop the trees down from old-growth forests - they grow them on farms. In rows. Like carrots. Or roses. So, if you think buying veggies and flowers is bad, then I guess it makes sense. Otherwise, I don't get it.
the problem with tree farms..."we plant two trees for every one we cut down" is that they are typically planting in rows and without diversity and they mow between them. So the outcome is a very productive tree farm but essentially no biodiversity. not so environmentally friendly.
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#32 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 06:41 PM
 
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I have a fake tree. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time, bought a great, pre-lit with the bulbs that are energy efficient, regular price was over $700 and got it for $199 after Christmas.

Since I already have it I will keep it forever but we always used real. I am really allergic to them and at the time when I bought my fake I had a cat who always peed under the real tree. He never peed under the fake one: After Christmas last year though we had him put down(he was 17 and sick)

So too late for me but if I were to make the choice now I would buy a real tree every year from a local farm. I think that would be the right choice. I just wouldn't touch the tree and let the kids decorate it etc.
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#33 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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I would have no qualms about using a cut tree. They're grown on farms for that purpose, after all. It's not like we're clear-cutting untouched wilderland for our holiday trees, plus I could use it for firewood when we camp in February.

That said, DH is allergic to pretty much any kind of live evergreen, plus we live in the desert and they tend to get dried out no matter HOW MUCH water you feed them because humidity is pretty low this time of year.

I have a fake one that's maybe 4-5 yr.s old that I got at Target. We'll keep using it for a while. No one's allowed to chew on it and I vacuum thoroughly after I take it down.

Once we own a home, I hope to be able to plant a live tree in the backyard that we can decorate year after year.

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#34 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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While we have all these little ones, we're going to stick to fake. Once we determine that no one is allergic and everyone is old enough to respect the tree and help us with it, we may go real. Ours has LED lights but didn't cost a fortune. I need the low maintenance right now.

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#35 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:31 PM
 
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I don't know where you live but here in Vermont going out and chopping down your own tree is as big a ritual as opening presents. Ok, so I'm exaggerating but it's really, really fun. IMO. Try it out, it's a great way to get out in the cold and do something festive. At the end of the season we put our trees in our lawn-compost pile in the back corner of the yard and sometimes burn them on the summer solstice in a big bonfire!
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#36 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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I just read the green way to go in Newsweek (in order of environmental friendliness)

1) Decorate an existing tree outside
2) get a live tree in a container - you'd need to learn how to care for and transition it outside after Christmas
3) real tree from a tree farm
4) fake tree is least desirable - petroleum based and they end up in landfills

I used it to steer DH away from a fake tree - I grew up with real ones and he had an artificial one.

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#37 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
I've never understood why people think having a real tree isn't environmentally friendly. It's not as if they go and chop the trees down from old-growth forests - they grow them on farms. In rows. Like carrots. Or roses. So, if you think buying veggies and flowers is bad, then I guess it makes sense. Otherwise, I don't get it.

And I LOOOVE the smell of a real tree. If I had to get a fake one, it would have to be one of those ridiculous fiber optic trees or something, so I wouldn't feel cheated.
Because they mostly get thrown out after the holiday? It seems murderous and wasteful somehow.

That said, we are getting a "real" tree this year. For one, we have a big front window w/ no furniture in front of it. We HAVE to put some sort of tree there. And two is that there is nowhere we could store a fake tree in this house. Three is that fake trees cost more.
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#38 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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i like fake, its not christmas unless its fake. We never did real in new zealand, why start now.

plus, a pine tree isnt my natural christmas tree, a pohutukawa tree is, and theres no way I'm going to see one here. Also, cutting down a tree every year just for christmas squigs me out, i dont like doing that. and pine is stinky, and sticky, and the needles! way to much work.
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#39 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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We always buy a real tree. It's from a tree farm anyhow -- it's not like someone's actually cut it down out of the forest. Our garbage/recycling/yard waste company picks up real trees after Christmas and mulches them for compost.

We did try a potted tree one year but really, how many years' worth of Christmas trees do you have room for in your yard? And it died anyhow, so it also got turned into compost.

My only problem with real trees is spiders. Once a few years ago a spider crawled out of our tree and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek. But still, it's not Christmas without a nice pine-smelling tree in the house, and I think DD is going to love going out to the tree farm this year.

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#40 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 07:54 PM
 
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I think the only time a fake tree (or no tree) is the more "green" option is when you live somewhere like the desert and the trees are trucked in. Since we live in the Christmas tree capitol of the US, I have no problem with farmed trees. They're right outside our door practically. The land is zoned agricultural use, so it's either trees or grass seed, and I'm allergic to the grasses.

Even better is getting a permit to cut a tree in the forest on public lands (which are essentially giant tree farms anyway). We make a day of it, go for a hike, have a picnic in the car, cut down a tree.... It's fun.

Most of the trees grown here end up being shipped to California, Arizona, New Mexico... Buying Christmas trees that have travelled from another state just seems wrong to me. :
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#41 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 08:22 PM
 
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We have a tradition of going to a local Christmas tree farm and, in my own words, hacking down a tree. I like supporting our local economy and it's a tradition we share with another family, so it's a lot of fun.

I happen to think it's more environmentally sound, too.

I suppose that there is a negative environmental impact when the trees are cut with gas burning chain saws and shipped to other states, but fake trees are shipped from some factory- probably in China, and made with awful ingredients. So the "fake vs real" dilemma points to real for me!

Support Oregon tree farmers! Buy a real tree

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#42 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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I think the only time a fake tree (or no tree) is the more "green" option is when you live somewhere like the desert and the trees are trucked in. Since we live in the Christmas tree capitol of the US, I have no problem with farmed trees. They're right outside our door practically. The land is zoned agricultural use, so it's either trees or grass seed, and I'm allergic to the grasses.

Even better is getting a permit to cut a tree in the forest on public lands (which are essentially giant tree farms anyway). We make a day of it, go for a hike, have a picnic in the car, cut down a tree.... It's fun.

Most of the trees grown here end up being shipped to California, Arizona, New Mexico... Buying Christmas trees that have travelled from another state just seems wrong to me. :
Thanks, GKnit. I live in NM, makes me feel a little better about me fakey tree. Though, obviously, my fake tree was also trucked in...

We are six: Me : Dh : Ds1('00) Dd('02) Ds2('05) Ds3('08) and, wow! Soon to be seven, Dd2 due 4/23.
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#43 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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Thanks, GKnit. I live in NM, makes me feel a little better about me fakey tree. Though, obviously, my fake tree was also trucked in...
But you only need to truck it in once, at least, not every year.
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#44 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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I have a fake tree. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time, bought a great, pre-lit with the bulbs that are energy efficient, regular price was over $700 and got it for $199 after Christmas.

Since I already have it I will keep it forever but we always used real. I am really allergic to them and at the time when I bought my fake I had a cat who always peed under the real tree. He never peed under the fake one: After Christmas last year though we had him put down(he was 17 and sick)

So too late for me but if I were to make the choice now I would buy a real tree every year from a local farm. I think that would be the right choice. I just wouldn't touch the tree and let the kids decorate it etc.
Where are you? I want a prelit fake tree!!
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#45 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 11:39 PM
 
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I live in the Pine Tree State and I love my fakey fakey white tree. : I bought it post-season for $40 and it's going to last us 20 years and I never have to deal with the guilt of in-your-face tree death. We might consider a potted tree that we keep and grow somehow, but I'm seriously gaga over my pretty white tree, I don't even want a real one!
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#46 of 80 Old 11-29-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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I live in S. Florida. I think they truck in the Christmas trees in from NC. All the native pines were chopped down long ago, plus they're slow growing. So we have an old fake tree. Our christmas ritual is to take it down from the attic.
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#47 of 80 Old 11-30-2007, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We like the plant-able ones. We buy smaller trees, but they look really nice in our yard. And they'll grow with our family. The one we got this year is about 4-5 feet tall and cost $40.
Betsy
wow, that's huge! where do you go to get a plantable one? and how do you maintain it indoors?
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#48 of 80 Old 11-30-2007, 12:50 PM
 
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We were planning on using a fake tree that was originally my mom's (like 15+ years old). I'd been reading about the lead/plastic issues in fake trees and really wished DH hadn't just set it up because my kids keep touching it. Except, when we went to turn it on last night, only half the lights work because it is so old! So we will probably either give it for free on craigslist or just get rid of it since it is ancient.

I'd really like to do either a baby douglas fir tree from my backyard (we live in WA- lotsa trees here) or get some sort of live potted tree. I'm really allergic to most trees, so I'm going to look and see if I can find a great big rosemary "tree" instead. I don't think that should bother me as much. If not we might try a small Norfolk Island pine as it should work fine indoors and its not poisonous to my cat who eats everything green.

We aren't doing lights this year because of the lead concerns. Since it looks like we will have such a small tree from now on, we are getting rid of most of our decorations. The kids and I are going to make cranberry strings, dried citrus fruit tied with ribbons, etc. for our tree this year. I'm actually looking forward to the simplicity of it.

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#49 of 80 Old 12-01-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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Me and DP were having the same dilema, and since we can't afford a tree that is artificial and isn't made from PVC, we are going to get a real tree this year and start saving so that one day we will have a very nice earth friendly tree to use year after year.
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#50 of 80 Old 12-02-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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While I love real trees and we always get one, in spite of the shedding needles, it just struck me yesterday that our kitten, who is just hitting the age at which he's in hyper teen wilding mode, will think that we've put up a tree just for him to ambush, attack, climb on, bat down the ornaments and who knows what else. I'm not kidding, the other day I came home to find that he had unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper on to the floor.

So I think we're looking at maybe a table-top tree, perhaps fake, or a wreath for the front door.
We have a "kitten", too. I put kitten in quotes because, although she is a wee 7 months old she is already as big as our two adult cats. She didn't look like a Maine Coon when I rescued her at 4 weeks. Anyway, just wanted to comment about your wreath and table-top tree. One of my cats thought a door wreath was his own personal bed. Mind you, the wreath isn't that big but he can curl up into a really small ball. I couldn't tell you how many times we've removed a cat from a wreath. This will be my kitten's first Christmas so I'm sure she'll have a field day in the tree with the toys. I've given up on finding solutions. For the past few years, my older kitties have slept in the tree at night.
As for the whole real vs. fake issue....I feel like a moron. We bought a fake tree years ago thinking it would be more environmentally friendly. My mom has become very allergic over the years so they have purchased a fake tree as well. Now I don't know what to do. We don't have our own house now but my dream would be to get plantable tree each year. I guess in the future we'll go back to getting trees from farms and supporting local business. Just as long as we don't cut the tree ourselves. I feel guilty just plucking a leaf from a plant so I know I'd never be able to do the actual cutting.

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#51 of 80 Old 12-02-2007, 05:25 PM
 
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I would like to keep supporting local by buying a real tree from local growers, but as much as I've tried to ignore it, I have realized in the past few years that real pine makes me miserable, and ds #1 is probably allergic as well. So I think we will be treeless this year and then trying to buy a nice fake one on sale after the holiday.

I do, however, have a lovely real wreath on my front door...the bank sent it to the business I do bookkeeping for and neither of the partners wanted it, so I got it!
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#52 of 80 Old 12-02-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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If you go for the real tree, get one with the root ball still attached and plant the tree in the spring when the ground thaws. We did this once when I was a kid and that tree is now easily 40 feet high. You'll have to either keep the tree in the house or outside somewhere where its protected from the elements, and water it continuously. The root ball is messy too, but I think if you want a real tree that bad, this is the best way to go.
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#53 of 80 Old 12-02-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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the problem with tree farms..."we plant two trees for every one we cut down" is that they are typically planting in rows and without diversity and they mow between them. So the outcome is a very productive tree farm but essentially no biodiversity. not so environmentally friendly.
Actually, christmas tree farms are an important part of the crop rotation cycle. Corn can only be grown for so long on the land before the soil is completely depleted. So, instead of covering the field in harmful chemicals and fertilizers, farmers plant christmas trees. After 4 to 6 years, they are big enough to harvest and have held the topsoil in place and replenished the nutrients into the ground. Then the farmer can plant beans. After a year or two of that, corn can easily grow for several years before the ground is depleted again, and the cycle begins over with trees. It's about a ten year cycle and much more earth friendly and conscientious than spraying petro-chemicals willy nilly. And around here, if they mow in the fields, it's maybe once a season to keep the trees from choking when they're small. Why mow if you don't need to? FWIW, anyway.

Oh, and only ever real here! :
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#54 of 80 Old 12-02-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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Because they mostly get thrown out after the holiday? It seems murderous and wasteful somehow.
That's exactly how I feel! But I don't want a fake one either.

Personally, I would just buy some kind of big house plant or a Norfolk pine and decorate that at Christmas but DH would NEVER go for that. We went and cut down a tree from the Izaak Walton League (they have a small tree farm) so at least our money is hopefully going into conservation efforts. But I did feel kind of sick when I watched the tree fall down.
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#55 of 80 Old 12-02-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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But doesn't your town compost them? Most municipalities do, so it gets turned back into earth to be used again and replenish the soil.
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#56 of 80 Old 12-03-2007, 12:22 AM
 
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But doesn't your town compost them? Most municipalities do, so it gets turned back into earth to be used again and replenish the soil.
I don't know if this town does. None of the previous towns did. They all got put in the dump.
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#57 of 80 Old 12-03-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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#58 of 80 Old 12-08-2007, 09:49 PM
 
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Because they mostly get thrown out after the holiday? It seems murderous and wasteful somehow.
yes that.

i like the idea of having a live one that you can plant later though. or a rosemary tree. trees are noble to me. like horses or something i dont know. lol.
fake trees with lead are scary! right now we have a 2 foot fake tree and a live wreath both given to us by dds grandmother. i havent really gotten into the whole holiday celebration thing. all my kids are on the younger side and arent totally into it yet.
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#59 of 80 Old 12-08-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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If you plan ahead, you can make a feather tree:

http://legonutty.blogspot.com/

(scroll down to see pictures)
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#60 of 80 Old 12-09-2007, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We aren't doing lights this year because of the lead concerns.
can you expand on this - why are lights an issue?
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