Fresh Michigan Christmas Trees: The Environmental Choice

By selecting a fresh, farm-grown Christmas Tree as the centerpiece of their holiday celebrations, consumers can honor a favorite Christmas tradition while helping the environment. Not only is a fresh Christmas tree a favorite among consumers, it’s an excellent environmental choice as well.  “Unlike artificial trees which are made of plastic, real Christmas trees are renewable and recyclable, says Jill O’Donnell, a Christmas tree specialist with the MSU Extension Service.  “However, many people still perceive cutting trees down as bad for the environment and that’s not the case.  Natural Christmas trees no longer come from the forest.  They are grown on farms throughout North America.”

According to the Michigan Christmas Tree Association (MCTA), for every Christmas tree harvested, up to three more are planted the following spring.  Christmas trees typically take 7-10 years to grow to a harvestable size.  By planting new trees for a holiday season seven to ten years in the future, farmers are establishing an environment that helps counteract possible greenhouse effects, produces oxygen and cleans the air, as well as providing a habitat for wildlife.

And after the holidays, there are many uses for recycled real Christmas trees.  Many communities chip the trees and use the chippings for mulch, hiking trails, playground areas, animal stalls or landscaping.  Whole trees are recycled for an even greater variety of uses; river shoreline stabilization, sand dune erosion prevention, marshland sedimentation, fish habitat, winter garden decorations, wild bird feeders; even hazardous chemical clean-ups.

“Whether it’s cutting your own tree at your local Christmas tree farm, or purchasing a fresh tree from a local tree lot or retailer, fresh Michigan Christmas trees add a special touch to holiday celebrations,” said Don Koivisto, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

“Bringing a fresh Christmas tree into the home during the holidays is a long standing tradition,” notes Michigan Christmas Tree Association Executive Director, Marsha Gray. “And there is nothing that compares to the fragrance of a fresh-cut Christmas tree!”

Finally, by selecting a real, Michigan-grown, Christmas tree, you can support Michigan’s economy and help to secure our agricultural heritage.  Michigan ranks third in the U.S. in the number of Christmas trees harvested. Every year, Michigan supplies approximately 3 million fresh Christmas Trees to the national market. And no other state produces more Christmas tree varieties.

“Buying local and making a Michigan Christmas tree part of your family holiday celebration is supporting our state’s economy,” comments Koivisto.

As you plan to celebrate this holiday season, remember take time for a special family tradition and select a fresh, fragrant and environmentally friendly farm-grown Michigan Christmas tree.