Help Earth: Buy a real Christmas tree!

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Inflated Santa, Christmas tree, and snowman, in front of rows of planted Christmas trees.

Santa and his friend say it's time to stop and cut your tree.

Get a real tree this holiday season. Buy it or cut it yourself at a tree farm. Either way, you will be helping the environment.

Surprised? Most people think it's bad to cut a live holiday tree. Instead, they buy an artificial tree made of plastic or other synthetic material. Because they reuse this artificial tree year after year, they think they are saving real trees.

Straight rows of Christmas trees planted as a crop.

Farmers plant Christmas trees in rows just as if they were corn.

But not so. Farmers grow trees especially for the holidays. They plant huge tracts of land in beautiful noble pines, Douglas firs, blue spruce, and other favorites. It may take 8 to 12 years to grow a good sized tree. But during that time, the tree is taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. It is cleaning the air and helping slow climate change. If people didn't buy the cut trees, the farmers wouldn't plant them.

When you are done with your holiday tree, you can recycle it. Most cities have programs to pick up your holiday tree and grind it up into mulch. Then it is spread back onto the land to help grow something else—or more trees.

No matter how many years you reuse an artificial tree, someday it will get thrown away and end up in a landfill for the next 1000 years!

So this year, get a real Christmas tree. You can even get a living Christmas tree with its roots still intact. After the holiday festivities are over, you can plant it outside and help our environment. It's better for us and the tree!

Outdoor shop of Bob'z U-cut tree farm.