Are Chopping Trees for the Holidays Sustainable in Colorado?


Chevrolet gave me a complimentary Chevy Silverado to complete this post.


There is the constant debate over fake or real Christmas trees. Is it sustainable to reuse a fake tree year after year or is it sustainable to chop a tree down in Colorado?


I own a fake tree and was always against chopping them down because I thought it wasn't sustainable. However, Chevy encouraged me to investigate further and learn about the differences in real versus fake trees. I'm informing you with all the information to make the best decision for yourself.


ARTIFICIAL TREES:

Pros:

Great for families with allergies to real trees

On average are reused for about 7 years

Can be ordered pre-lit

Cost effective price over time


Cons:

Made of plastic, copper and/or PVC which makes it difficult to recycle

End up in landfill and cannot break down

Typically made in China and shipped to the US for purchase - larger footprint

Plastic Smell or you have to buy scent sticks

Need to store the tree after the holidays

REAL TREES:

Pros:

Fun memory of cutting down the tree

Natural tree smell fills the house

Absorbs carbon monoxide in the environment

Provides watershed protection

Grown locally and reduce the carbon footprint

Tree farms turn unfarmable land into restorable land


Cons:

Need to pay for a permit

Cutting down a tree can be difficult

Have to get lights and string the tree

Tree is a fire hazard

Some trees drop needles and/or sap

You have to haul it home and some people don't have the means of transportation

Back to the main question of this post, is it sustainable to chop a tree down in Colorado for the Holidays?

The short answer is yes, it is a sustainable practice to cut down trees for Christmas in Colorado.


SUPPORT LOCAL FARMERS

Real trees are biodegradable and a renewable natural resource. Tree farms are set up on land that would be used for urban development and cannot be used for crop farming. They are run by local farmers and have a perfect purpose to provide an easy to cut-down atmosphere. Even if you buy a tree from the local grocery store it comes from a tree farm. It takes trees on average 7 years to reach its potential for selling. This may seem like a long time but for farmers it helps them continue to grow and cultivate the trees over long periods of time regardless of climate change.


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FOREST

One of the largest perks of cutting down your own tree is to thin the forest. It is nearly impossible for wild lands firefighters to thin all the trees during the winter, so you are an integral part in helping them. The Nature Conservancy Colorado states, "In some forest systems, denser forests are more prone to severe wildfires, insect infestations and other problems."



Before you head out to cut down a tree for the holidays, Chevy has a few tips to share.

CHEVY HOLIDAY TREE CHOPPING TIPS:

  1. Be prepared: Always make sure to measure the space in your home so you know exactly what size tree will fit as you pick one out.  Don’t forget to leave enough room for the tree topper!

  2. Stay warm: Bundle up, wear boots and bring a pair of gloves to make sure you stay warm when chopping down your tree. Whether it’s snowing or wet outside, be sure to bring a piece of cardboard to kneel on while you cut your tree down.

  3. Choose Wisely: Most tree farms have a lot of options to choose from, so take your time and inspect the trees before you pick one out. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends testing out the branches to make sure the tree isn’t too dry or unhealthy.

  4. Chop Chop: Cut your tree low to the ground and straight across. Have a buddy pull the tree slightly away from the side you’re cutting to prevent the saw from binding and make it easier to cut all the way through.

  5. Use netting: All trees should be put into netting or a sleeve for easy transport.

  6. Stump first: Put the stump-end of the tree towards the front of your truck to help mitigate movement within the bed of the truck.

  7. Tie it down tight: Center your tree in the bed of the truck, loop twine through the integrated tie-down hooks and repeat to cinch with a “figure-8” motion securing the tree. In the 2020 Silverado, there are 12 fixed tie downs stationed throughout the bed of the truck to help you secure the tree from moving around while you drive.

  8. Tailgate up: The best way to transport your tree is with the tailgate up. If your tree is bigger than your truck bed, you can transport it with the tailgate down – just make sure to tie a red ribbon on the end of the tree so drivers behind you can see it and follow local laws about items extending beyond your vehicle.

  9. Don’t forget to water your tree: Make sure you put your tree into water immediately when you get home and place it away from heat sources like fireplaces or radiators that can dry it out. The tree will drink up a lot of water the first couple of days so make sure to check on the water level throughout the season. That way you can keep it alive and healthy all holiday season long!

While I'm now a proud owner of a real tree in addition to my fake tree, there is no wrong decision. I prefer a real tree moving forward but will continue to use mine for as long as I can before recycling it.


Enjoy your holiday season whether you opt for a real or fake tree.

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