5 Things to Consider Before you Buy
I lay out five simple facts I have learned about real Christmas trees. There are many myths about live Christmas trees which are based on more assumption than fact. My goal is not to tell you what you should do, but rather to list these five points, so you too can make your informed judgments about the safety of real Christmas trees in your home.
1: A wet Christmas tree is safe; a dry Christmas tree is not.
A wet Christmas tree is a tree which is properly watered on a daily basis. Keeping a real tree watered means the tree retains moisture, and it is near impossible to start a fire on a wet tree. To help put this in perspective, if you were to start a small campfire, would you look for moist wet twigs and branches from a live tree or would you look for dead dry twigs and branches? For anyone who has been camping, you know the best way to start a fire is to use dry wood. The drier the wood, the quicker it can be used to create a fire and we know this is crucial to being able to cook a decent dinner or cup of coffee. Why would this not also be true for a Christmas tree? Keep it well watered, and you will drastically reduce the risk of your Christmas tree catching on fire.
2: Heat sources will dry out a Christmas tree.
Heat sources can be any fireplace (not just wood fires), radiators, space heaters, stoves, ovens and even candles. These heat sources will cause a real tree to become dry. The faster a tree dries, the quicker it dies. As a tree loses its moisture, it will become less resistant to fire. Therefore, keep your tree away from any heat source, and you will enjoy a healthy green Christmas tree throughout the holiday weeks. In regards to artificial trees, they can not “dry” out; however, they too should not be placed near heat sources. Artificial trees made of plastics and chemicals which are not fire proof and therefore still a fire hazard.
3: A well-watered Christmas tree will stay healthy but not last forever.
However, the 8th tree could not catch on fire at all with a single match. They then set an entire box of matches on fire, and that too could not ignite the tree. Only when they used an open flame with a propane torch did it ignite briefly and then itself extinguished when the light was moved away! In my humble opinion, I can not imagine any artificial tree manufacturer claiming their trees would produce the same results, do you? Therefore, under the proper conditions of watering your tree daily, away from heat sources, you can expect your real Christmas tree to be healthy, vibrant and safe through the holidays.
When your tree starts dropping needles and turning brown, remove it from the house and dispose of it properly. Live Christmas trees do not last forever, they will eventually die.
4: Live Christmas trees can be recycled, artificial trees can not.
I have yet to meet a person opposed to recycling. I do not have to be an environmental fanatic to dislike the idea of throwing something away that will not disintegrate for nearly a thousand years if not more. A real tree when its time is up can be chopped and recycled. Even if it is picked up by your local sanitation worker, the tree will be taken to a landfill and will decompose the way trees are supposed to. Artificial trees do not rot because they made of materials such as plastic, and plastics will not decompose, at least in this millennium.
5: Christmas tree farms are NOT devastating our tree supply.
In an industry which survives on selling trees, businesses need to make sure their supply is always available. Therefore those that grow the trees, often wholesalers, often plant two trees for every one tree that removed. Not only is that simply good business sense, but it is reassuring to know that indeed, no forests are being devastated by the real Christmas tree industry.