Facts About Real and Artificial Christmas Trees

Deciding between a real and artificial tree for your house this year? Unsure of the facts surrounding each type of tree? We are here to help! Let’s examine a few common myths and misconceptions about both types of trees.The Truth About Real and Artificial Christmas Trees

ARE REAL CHRISTMAS TREES CUT DOWN FROM FORESTS?

A small number of wild trees are cut down to be used as Christmas trees. However, in federal forests, this type of removal is strictly regulated by the U.S. Forest Service, which limits the number of trees that can be removed.

The vast majority of Christmas trees are grown on farms–much like any other crop–specifically for the purpose of being harvested for Christmas trees. These trees wouldn’t exist in the first place, if it wasn’t for the public demand for Christmas trees.

ARE ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREES HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT, AND DO THEY CONTRIBUTE TO GLOBAL WARMING?

Short answer: No.

In 2010, PE International, a consulting company that studies environmental sustainability in numerous industries, did an analysis of the environmental impact of artificial Christmas trees, versus real trees. The study found that, depending on how a real tree is disposed of, an artificial tree would only have to be used for 3.6 to 4 years before there was a net benefit with regard to contribution to global warming.

This means that if a household uses an artificial tree for at least 4 years, its carbon footprint (with regard to Christmas trees) will be smaller than that of a household that purchases a real tree every year.

In addition, the study found that with both real and artificial trees, no matter how they were ultimately disposed of, Christmas trees accounted for less than 0.1% of the average person’s annual carbon footprint.

DO REAL CHRISTMAS TREES TRIGGER ALLERGIES?

Plant-related pollen allergies can sometimes be triggered by real Christmas trees. But by late November and early December, when such trees are harvested, pollen production has long since ceased. This means that most people with pollen allergies will not be bothered by real trees, except for those are sensitive enough to be bothered by trace amounts.

Real trees can carry dust, as well as molds and fungi. The best way to deal with this is by cleaning the tree before you bring it into your home. Use your garden hose to spray down the tree, and then leave the tree somewhere warm to dry for about 24 hours. Once it’s dry, then you can bring it into your home. As an added precaution, you can try running an air purifier in the room where the tree is located.

Additionally, individuals with a tree sap allergy are encouraged to purchase an artificial tree.