For generations, real Christmas trees have stood at the center of our most beautiful holiday traditions. But did you know that when you choose a real tree, you’re also doing something beautiful for our forests?

The greenest holidays start with real trees.

Christmas trees are grown on managed, sustainable forestlands. So for every tree harvested, up to three more are planted in the spring.1 In the U.S. about 500,000 acres are devoted to growing Christmas trees2, and each acre provides the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people.3 Real trees are grown in all 50 states, mostly on family-owned, managed forestlands.4

Real tree traditions.
Many people purchase real trees from community organizations. This is a great way to give a holiday “gift” to your local Scout troop, church or school. For others, it just wouldn’t be the holidays without visiting a tree farm and walking the land to select the perfect tree. Instead of one large tree, some people purchase several smaller ones to place in various rooms throughout the home, each decorated to a different color palette or theme. Another tradition is to show your state pride by selecting a tree native to your area. So, what are the most popular types of Christmas trees? Scotch pine, Douglas fir, Noble fir, Virginia pine, Balsam fir and white pine.5

Today's tree, tomorrow's landscape.
Some people choose living trees rather than cut ones. Gradually introduce your living tree from outside to inside over three or four days via the garage or enclosed porch. Keep the root ball moist and do not remove any of the soil or burlap wrapping while the tree is in the house. Limit its inside stay to 7 to 10 days and place it in a cooler part of the room away from a direct heat source or vent. After Christmas, slowly re-introduce your tree to the outside by removing it to your garage or porch. Do not plant it in frozen soil. Small potted trees can be used as topiaries for a front porch or terrace. Larger trees can be planted in your yard when the ground thaws or donated to a community beautification project.6

When the holidays are over,
give your tree a new life.

In the forest, real trees provide habitat for many species. They help to clean the air of carbon and prevent soil erosion. But, even after they are harvested, real trees keep on giving to our planet. They can be used to provide shelter and breeding areas for birds and fish, and put to many other earth friendly purposes. And unlike artificial trees, real ones are 100% biodegradable and recyclable. So, after you’ve enjoyed your tree this holiday, choose one of these environmentally positive ways to Plant It Forward.SM

How to care for your cut tree.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are several things you should do to help your tree last its longest and be safe in your home.

Before bringing it inside, cut one inch off the bottom of the trunk and immediately place the tree in a stand that can hold at least one gallon of plain tap water.

Expect the tree to take up additional water rather soon, so keep filling the stand until water uptake stops. Then water each day, making sure the water is always well above the cut end of the tree.

Use UL-approved electrical decorations and cords in good condition. Miniature lights produce less heat and reduce the drying effect on the tree. Always unplug the tree at night.

If properly cared for, many fresh cut trees can last up to five weeks indoors, but the average is about three weeks. Take down the tree and remove it from your home before it dries out.7

1 National Christmas Tree Assn. (
2 ibid
3 ibid
4 ibid
5 ibid
6 The Garden Helper (
7 National Christmas Tree Assn. (