How to Adopt a Living Tree This Christmas

If you celebrate Christmas and usually buy or cut down a fresh tree and then dump it on the street after the holidays, here’s a great alternative.

San Francisco is offering the option of fostering a living tree for your holiday celebrations. Customers pay a tax-deductible $75 for a tree to bring home and enjoy. After the holidays, they return the tree, which is then used in a Neighborhood Tree Program. 

How cool is that?! 

Not only can San Francisco residents enjoy a beautiful tree, but they are also reducing their carbon footprint and developing their city’s tree canopy when they purchase a future street tree.

The organization Friends of the Urban Forest, which plants the trees and provides green tree care instructions, is sponsoring the program. The group explains the environmental benefits to San Francisco: Once the trees are returned after the holidays, they provide wildlife habitat, clean the air and capture carbon. 

According to their website:

Our Green Christmas Trees are better for the environment than traditional dead trees. They reduce waste and post-holiday litter – and once they’re planted on the streets of San Francisco, they’ll provide benefits for generations. We offer species that are popular choices for beautifying the streets of San Francisco, such as Primrose, Fruitless Olive, and Fem Pine.

The benefits of trees are well-known: They absorb more carbon than they release, and they release oxygen back into the air. Trees also clean the air by drawing in potentially harmful gases. And they provide numerous health and community benefits.

So what if you’re not a San Francisco resident? You can still follow the spirit of what the city is doing.

To get the most environmentally friendly tree, purchase a living Christmas tree that still has its roots attached.

Then, after the holidays, you can plant your living tree in the ground or keep it in its pot and use it again next year, reaping the same benefits as San Franciscans: providing a habitat for wildlife like birds, preserving open spaces and contributing to cleaner air.

There are a few provisos, however. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, you should acclimatize your new tree by leaving it in your garage for at least a couple of days before bringing it indoors, for a maximum of five to seven days.

And if you are going to plant the tree in your backyard after the holidays, remember to dig a hole before the ground freezes — and, of course, make sure your tree is a species that will thrive in your area.

There’s even another option for going green with your Christmas tree. Clint Springer, a botanist and professor of biology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, buys a fresh tree every year, he mulches it in the spring to use as fertilizer for his garden. “It’s a closed-loop system,” he says.

Happy holidays, and enjoy your green Christmas tree!

Photo Credit: Spencer Pugh/Unsplash

43 comments

Shae Lee
Shae Leeabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooleyabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Jan K
Jan Kabout a month ago

Thanks

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Richard B
Richard Babout a month ago

thank you for sharing

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La'neSa'an M
La'neSa'an Mabout a month ago

Great example San Francisco!!!

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La'neSa'an M
La'neSa'an Mabout a month ago

Grew up buying living trees for Christmas. Some of them are quite big now. It is a great learning for engendering the next generation of environmentally conscientious guardians.
Also gifting someone a tree planted in honor of them is good at this time of year.

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Thank you for c sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Artificial is best pack away caewfullu for next year last for years Thank you for c sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Dont have one Thank you for c sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Whitneyabout a month ago

Thank you for c sharing

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