Make the Holidays Green with a Living Tree

There’s just no denying that cut Christmas trees are a blight on the season. Certainly they fill a niche in the cavalcade of traditions that surround the holidays, but they pose a very real fire hazard in the home before they get carted off to landfills en masse. In short, they may be pretty, but they’re definitely not eco-friendly. However, even self-proclaimed greenies may be hesitant to give up on the tradition they’ve observed since childhood, especially since decorating a Christmas tree is something that families often gather to do together, taking the time to reminisce over this ornament or that one and remember the many holidays past. So if you’re looking for an alternative that doesn’t require you place a plastic monstrosity in your living room or give up on the tree altogether, why not consider a living tree?

Here’s how it works. You basically get a conifer in a container, keep it indoors for no more than a few weeks, and then give it back. The thought of renting a Christmas tree may strike you as fairly odd, but it’s both easy and eco-friendly, provided you can find such a service where you live. You’ll start by seeking tree-rental businesses, and they don’t necessarily have to be targeted at Christmas trees. Many will rent potted trees for weddings (and other events) throughout the year, so all you have to do is call to find out if they have the evergreen you’re looking for, be it pine, spruce, or other. The only problem is that these companies may want to charge a pretty hefty price per day and you’ll be required to keep them in good condition in the meantime, whereas companies that specialize in Christmas tree rentals will likely have a better price point.

Once you’ve selected a vendor, you simply arrange for a drop-off date, at which point they’ll place the living tree in your home, providing you with all the pine-smelling freshness you could possibly hope for. While the plant is in your care, you’ll have to attend to its needs, though. It will require water more frequently than a cut tree, especially in a warm environment, so you’ll want to check the soil to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Then, when Christmas has passed, the tree will be picked up and returned to the rental agency or in some cases, planted on reclaimed land. Easy-peasy-piney-treesy.

Of course, if you can’t find a service for delivery and pickup you could always go to a nursery or the garden center at a hardware store to find the tree you’re looking for, although you will have to provide it with a good home. Keep in mind that these trees are used to outdoor weather patterns, so it really won’t do to keep them in year-round. In fact, more than a few weeks indoors and you’ll start seeing the new growth that is typical of springtime conditions. What you can do is keep your tree in the garage until the ground thaws and then plant it outside, or place it on your deck or doorstep in a decorative planter so that you can reuse it next year.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for MorrisonHershfield, the leader in innovative, eco-friendly and cost effective engineering projects.