This Week's Podcast: A Replay: Buy it; Plant it; or Grow your Own
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Should you buy a live Christmas tree to decorate inside and then plant after the holidays? Some people may think that is more earth-friendly than buying a cut tree. But trees growing in the rows of a farm field might be a more environmentally sound crop, depending on the pesticide and fertilizer used, than many if not most crops. And these trees represent a renewable resource.
Tree expert Max Burton introduces me to some additional considerations about trying to decorate a live tree bought in a pot or "balled & burlapped." I thought that digging a whole to plant the trees was the biggest consideration. Then, keeping the tree cold until you bring it inside to decorate, and keeping it in a cold room in the house or as short a time as possible – a week at most. Max points out that these small trees are too often planted in the wrong place, outdoors. That hole you dug? Is it right next to the driveway? Some of these trees will grow to fifty feet or more. You may end up having to cut down the tree in any event.
Then again, you can grow your own. When an arborvitae (planted as a six inch tall rooted cutting) got a little too large for its place, we decided to cut it down and recycle it as a holiday tree. The lower branches became garland and cut boughs to fill empty urns and pots. The top (above in a bucket of water) will find a place on the porch with decorations.
Max says to buy a cut tree, and after the holiday, have it chipped, or compost it – cut up or whole! I add to not use tinsel or remove it before you toss the tree. Birds are attracted to tinsel and may eat and choke on it.
We also get to talk about having a home tree diagnostic survey. A reputable expert will tell you about your trees for little or no charge, since he or she should be interested in establishing a long-term relationship.
Max steers us to his favorite tree web site for more information.