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Pody's column: Real Christmas trees are good for the environment

During the past few weeks I've seen so many cars with live Christmas trees tied on their tops. The media has warned people to give the trees at least a gallon of water before putting them up because of our dry growing season.

Many of the tree lots are bare around the area. Some of these are operated by non-profit organizations that put proceeds right back in the communities.

Every year over 36 million families continue this century old tradition of buying a live tree for their homes. Some families spend a day at a tree farm while others select the perfect tree from the lot. I remember when our family sold trees at the Rosemount Lions tree lot and helped families before Christmas. Some people believe it is harmful to the environment to harvest these trees when just the opposite is true of the live tree. The National Arbor Day Foundation states, "90 percent of all Christmas trees are grown for that purpose on over 15,000 plantations or farms.  Many of these are family owned and operated operations employing over 100,000 people. For each tree harvested two or three seedlings are quickly planted. These young trees are in their rapid growth years and have a high rate of photosynthesis. One acre of these Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen for 18 people." 

Most evergreens grow at the rate of one foot per year and are ready for harvest in six to eight years. After the holidays the live tree can be recycled, shredded and put back into the soil.

When the children were older we had an artificial tree. It wasn't the same. Most of them are manufactured in Korea, Taiwan or Hong Kong. They are made of non-biodegradable plastic and materials. They last for several years in your home, but there comes a time when they must be disposed of.

The next time someone criticizes a real tree, tell them you not only do it for enjoyment  and aesthetics, but also to support  the community and environment.