View topic - Real or Fake Christmas Trees?

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PostPosted: December 1st, 2012, 7:27 pm 
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Ontarians are rather split on environmental merits of real vs. fake Christmas trees. It's not much of an issue here in Northwestern Ontario, with so much Crown land - get in the truck for a 10-15 minute drive and pick one. It has always been a good family outing in our household, not to mention how nice it smells.



November 30, 2012
By: The Working Forest staff

This holiday season, Ontarians are debating over which Christmas tree is better for the environment. Public opinion is currently divided between the choices of real or fake.

A recent poll shows Ontarians are almost evenly split on whether they consider an artificial or real tree to be the most environmentally friendly. The November 2012 poll from Oraclepoll Research Limited shows that 46% of Ontarians believe the “green” choice to be artificial, while 42% sided with real trees.

The Ontario Forestry Association (OFA) explains why real trees are the more environmentally friendly choice, hoping to help swing the debate in favour of the real Christmas tree.

Christmas trees in Canada are grown on farms specifically for the Christmas season. According to the OFA, more than 500 Ontario farmers produce over one million Christmas trees each year. When trees are harvested, Christmas tree farmers plant new seedlings to grow trees for the future holiday season. As not all trees are harvested at the same time, these farms provide continuous habitat for wildlife, and retain soil and water, preventing seasonal runoff.

Christmas tree farms are carbon sinks, OFA explains, soaking up carbon dioxide emitted by cars, planes and our homes. One acre of planted Christmas trees provides the oxygen required by 18 people every day. The trees are 100 per cent biodegradable and, after the holidays, the trees are mulched and are used in municipal parks. Pharmaceutical companies in Ontario also extract ingredients from tree needles for flu vaccines. For more information on the benefits of real Christmas trees visit OFA’s website.

On the other hand, the manufacturing and transportation of imported fake Christmas trees requires large amounts of fossil fuels. Fake trees are not biodegradable, which increases waste in landfills as people do not keep their trees forever. Artificial Christmas trees will become centuries-long residents of municipal landfills.

When asked, “This Holiday season, do you plan to buy and put up a real tree or an artificial tree?” 49% of respondents said artificial, while 32% said real. But, Ontarians are ahead of United States residents in this sense. The response for real trees from Ontarians is almost 10% higher than the 23% of U.S. households who bought live Christmas trees in 2010, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The main reasons for the poll respondents choosing real trees were: environmentally friendly (32%); tradition (27%); and family activity (17%). It was interesting to note that the use of real trees is most popular from respondents in Toronto, Hamilton/Niagara and Central/Northern Ontario.

For residents in the Toronto area looking to spend some time with their family and pick up a real tree this holiday season, the OFA recommends that you get your real tree and support their partner, Trees Ontario, at the same time. Trees Ontario will be selling trees from November 30th to December 16th at the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District. You can also cut your own tree at one of the many tree farms across Ontario.

Ontario Forestry Association


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PostPosted: December 1st, 2012, 8:22 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
I am not buying nothing..rather a ten minute walk into the woods in back of my house gets me a really nice Charlie Brown Balsam. You know the kind that will never grow properly because it is bereft of light all around. Yet fits nicely through the door.

But to your point. Field grown Christmas trees are a crop to be harvested. You are really not saving anything by buying artificial, except maybe giving a Chinese factory worker a penny.
Buy local and put your money in your local tree farmer's pocket.


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PostPosted: December 1st, 2012, 8:27 pm 
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Location: NORTHERN ONTARIO
fake, and predecorated!!

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PostPosted: December 1st, 2012, 11:37 pm 
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Location: Milton
Real, and messy!

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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2012, 7:11 am 
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None of the above.

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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2012, 9:00 am 
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Location: Bristol,Quebec,Canada
A traditional Balsam Fir for me,cutting it right in my own bush .


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2012, 9:59 am 
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Real, always. Even if they are not grown as a crop, the selective harvesting of a 'wild' tree has the same minimal effect as cutting a 'farm' tree---it's soon replaced by another sapling that has been vying for its own spot in the sun.

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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2012, 10:47 am 
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Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
Always do real, because it is....well, real. :)

Call me a sappy traditionalist, but fake trees to me are a turn off. Just the way I am wired.

Environmentally, there is really no better option that a real tree. If you buy at a lot, they are all farm grown and harvested specifically for this use. If you conscientiously harvest from the wild, it is a renewable resource. Real trees are used for much after their use.

More than half our our trees over the years have be harvested ourselves, mostly off of our own land, and some from crown land adjoining it. If time is an issue, I usually buy a tree from the boy scouts.

Fake trees are factory made, and end up in landfills. I know some people though that have kept them for a fair few years, and this is good.

The bottom line, is to enjoy whatever it is you use, and have yourself a Very Merry Christmas.

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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2012, 11:10 am 
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Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
Folks, be prepared to alter your traditions as the years go by: in my case, the first change was a switch away from real candles to a string of electric lights. I think I was 16 years old then. Now, I am happy enough to have something decorated in the house that's green and alive.

With my own kids, I established a tradition to go out and cut a tree at one of the farms near the city. And I have kept up that tradition with the grand children who live two hours drive away. It's an outing into nature in early December, we go regardless of weather, and we have a common purpose. The cut tree stays in their home, as we in Toronto have given away our plastic tree a few years ago and just put a spruce bough on the wall.

But this year there's a two-year old in our house for three days a week, and so we went out shopping for a little tree. Plastic and wire, just enough to be decorated.

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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2012, 8:01 am 
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We don't mess around here. 13 feet tall, 15 minutes from my place.
Image

Merry Christmas!


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PostPosted: December 3rd, 2012, 8:18 am 
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Nice tree, Rob!

Now I wonder whether someone can photoshop this pic to create an Ontario sasquatch at Christmas time. It's about time such a pic appears on the internet scene.... :wink:

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PostPosted: December 4th, 2012, 8:58 am 
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SWIFT wrote:
fake, and predecorated!!



Yep. :thumbup:

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PostPosted: December 6th, 2012, 2:37 pm 
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Location: Coldstream, Ontario Canada
Its real for us and cut from our bush.
From the tree planting end of it, we've taken on an approach to reestablish a more diverse Carolinian bush lot with native endangered Carolinian flora. Such as Paw Paw, Cucumber Magnolia, Butter Nut, American Chestnut, Ohio Buckeye, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Tulip Tree, Eastern Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Redbud, and the Wood Poppy.
In our landscaping we've incorporated, wild blue berries, cranberries and spice bush to enhance our biodiversity.

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PostPosted: April 16th, 2013, 2:25 pm 
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Location: Minden, NV USA
I am a forester and believe in real trees. They are carbon neutral and release the same amount of carbon when they burn or decay as when they were alive. They are renewable. In the US and much of BC the problems with current forests are related to a lack of harvesting.

Besides, how can one hope to appease the Pagan Gods around the time of the Winter Solstice without bringing evergreens into the house?


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