Christmas Trees Take on New Life After the Holidays 

Christmas trees are more than just the celebration of life during the holidays, they're a source of life after it. Each year more consumers are discovering the recyclable, renewable benefits of Real Christmas trees.

Unlike artificial trees, which aren't biodegradable and will remain in landfills for centuries after they are disposed of, Real Christmas trees give something back to the environment in a variety of ways.

* Christmas trees are biodegradable-the trunk and branches can be used as mulch for gardens, parks or in animal stalls. The mulch provides a protective barrier for the roots of other plants and vegetation while preventing weeds from growing. The mulch then decomposes, providing the nutrients plants need to thrive. Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check with your local department of public works for information.

* Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially on beaches and along river beds. Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for game fish.

* Before recycling, Christmas trees can be used to make bird feeders, adding color and excitement to the winter garden. Utilize orange slices, suet and seed to attract the birds. They will come for the food and stay for the shelter in the branches.

* Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup.

Although artificial tree owners will insist that theirs is a better choice because their tree is being used every year, the average life of an artificial tree is just six years. Then the plastic tree is tossed in a landfill where it will lie in a composed state for centuries.

Recycling has obvious benefits to the environment, whether it be Christmas trees or newspapers. But being recycled is not the only environmentally-friendly advantage that Real Trees have over artificial ones.

Breathe deeply at a Christmas tree farm and you will enjoy not only the fresh pine fragrance, but also fresh, oxygenated air. That's because of photosynthesis: the trees absorb carbon dioxide-laden air and emit oxygen. Just one acre of a Christmas tree farm produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. Young trees in their rapid growth years have a high rate of photosynthesis and thus produce more oxygen than older trees.

For each Christmas tree harvested, two to three new trees are planted in its place. In the United States, there are approximately one million acres in production for growing Christmas trees. This translates to oxygen for 18 million people per day.

So, be sure to use a Real Tree--the renewable, recyclable resource--as the centerpiece of your holiday celebration.

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