Whether delicate hand-blown glass bulbs adorn your tree or paper chain-link garland and felt angels with yarn hair, memories come alive as these keepsakes of our family histories are displayed. But, we seldom know much about the history of the tree itself.
These beloved symbols of life travel across the country from major Christmas tree producing states such as Oregon or North Carolina. On most farms they grow segregated by age and species. In this monoculture setting, trees require a host of pesticides to fend off insects, fungal pests, and weeds. According to Beyond Pesticides, nearly 40 different active ingredients are registered for tree production nationwide. Some of the most widely used pesticides for Christmas tree production in North Carolina are nervous systems toxins (disulfoton, dimethoate, Asana, Talstar) or linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Roundup). According to the Forestry Department at Michigan State University, twenty-two herbicides (weed killers) are commonly used in Christmas tree production in Michigan, including Roundup and 2,4-D, which is linked to cancer in humans and dogs.
How can you make sure your tree is truly “green”?
While an artificial tree may seem like an environmentally-friendly choice due to its reusability (and no need for pesticides), consider this:
The Michigan Christmas Tree Association reminds us that
Celebrate the Season
Candy Cane Christmas Tree Farm, 4780 Seymour Lake Road, Oxford, 248-628-8899. candycanetreefarm.com (Go to website for coupon for $5 off each tree purchase).
Environmentally-friendly practices. Visit the farm to hand pick and cut your own tree. Also live, potted Christmas trees. Visit with Santa on the weekends.
Trim Pines Farm, 4357 E. Baldwin Road. Holly, 810-694-9958. trimpines.com
Environmentally-verified farm by Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. Choose-and-cut or ready-cut trees. Santa Hayrides and horse-drawn hayrides, real reindeer and more.
Click Tree Traditions to download a printable pdf of this article.
Melissa Cooper Sargent
Published on December 8, 2010