Do you get a live cut Christmas tree every year? Or are you an artificial tree diehard? I grew up in an artificial tree family. I barely think it crossed my mind when I was young. I recall just being interested in the presents. As I got into high school I was obsessed with ‘saving the earth’, I also became keenly aware that some families got cut trees. I honestly thought a ton about it and saw the benefits of both an artificial and a live cut tree. Artificial trees you buy once and can use it for 10 plus years but it was manufactured of materials that would never get composted. Cut trees are grown each year just so you can cut them and put them on display in your house for a month, they have an amazing smell, and you can compost them back into the earth. I used to think about this dilemma a lot. In the end I decided that the cut live trees were the best for the environment.
Here’s why. In Louisiana, we would re-use those old trees in the Gulf of Mexico. YEP, you read that right. Every year Cities around South Louisiana would collect the used Christmas trees and eco conscious teenager volunteers like myself would de glitter, sort, stack and tie these trees into bundles to be placed in the gulf. The trees would act as ‘natural’ buffers to help slow down the erosion along the marshlands.
All of that is to say I prefer cut live trees! And have had one every year since moving to New Mexico post college. So let’s take a look at what species of live trees are available to you this year around town. The two species that almost all of the nurseries will have this year are the Noble fir and Nordmanns. Here are some of their unique qualities.
Noble Fir, Abies procera: These blueish green trees have a nice pyramid shape, the needles turn upward exposing the lower branches. It stays fresh for a long time, and its stiff branches make it a good tree for heavy ornaments, as well as providing excellent greenery for wreaths and garland. Those stiff branches create an open branching structure so you can hang ornaments deep into the tree near the trunk. It has a nice strong fragrance.
Nordmann Fir, Abies nordmanniana: The deep rich dark green color of this tree make it a winner and is widely known as the most popular tree in Europe. The foliage is very attractive with soft needles that create a full pyramid shape. The needles remain on the tree for a while even after the tree dries out therefore making it long lasting. It has a mild light fragrance.
White Pine, Pinus strobus: Blueish green in color this pine has soft flexible needles that can be 2 1/2 – 5 inches long. This is not the tree to choose if you have heavy ornaments. It is a very dense tree that works well with light weight ornaments. It has great needle retention but very little aroma.
Most of our trees do come from the Northwest and as you know there were devastating wildfires in that area of the country this past summer. These fires have most definitely affected some tree lots up west making supply low and demand high. You might see this reflected this year in the cost of your tree. The nurseries are going to be working hard to bring you competitive pricing as always. But don’t fret if you see pricing increase this year, you’ll know it’s because of the supply.
Below is a list of nurseries carrying cut trees this year.
Look for an upcoming post on the benefits of a live cut Christmas tree (mentioned above) verses real container Christmas tree.
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