Here’s our 2011 guide to finding the eco-friendliest Christmas trees in and around Metro Vancouver.
HOLIDAY 2011 | While artificial trees come in hues to match your decor, real Christmas trees are green in more than colour. They are a renewable crop often grown on land unsuitable for cultivating much else, they remove carbon from the air while they’re growing, and they can be chipped for mulch after use. Here are three ways to get an eco-friendly green tree this Christmas.
GO LOCAL: As with any plant, the freshest trees are those grown closest to home. Many Christmas tree farms allow you to choose your tree from the field, so it’s not only fresh but, unlike bundled trees, you can see what it looks like. Some growers will cut one for you, while at other farms you do it yourself. Some also bag the trees after cutting for easier transport. Pricing varies, e.g., $25 for a small tree, $8 a foot for a noble fir, $45 for any tree in the field, etc. This useful website listing u-pick Christmas tree farms across Canada and the U.S. advises calling ahead to check on hours, prices and what’s available: www.pickyourownchristmastree.org. To find the u-cut farm closest to your home, visit the British Columbia Christmas Tree Council website and type in your postal code: www.bcchristmastrees.com.
GO LIVE: A potted tree can be replanted outside after Christmas. It will be heavy, however, and can only be kept inside for three weeks, after which it will go into shock if moved out into the cold. Many u-pick tree farms also have “living trees” to dig up, and Evergrow Christmas Trees in Burnaby, started in January 2009 by two UBC forestry graduates, rents living trees, which is so popular that this year the smaller trees are already sold out. Prices, including delivery, removal and caring for the trees during the off-season, range from $125 for a golden-tipped Nordman to $200 for a seven-foot-plus Fraser fir. Once trees are too big to move, they are planted in a forever home through Evergreen BC, an organization that restores natural habitats. For more information, visit www.evergrowchristmastrees.ca.
Squamish-based CarbonSync offers five varieties of fresh-cut trees priced at $150 and up, and living Douglas firs (up to four feet high including the container) for $55. Delivery is included in the price for all trees, and pick up is included with the cut ones. For $49, CarbonSync will pick up any Christmas tree no matter where it was purchased, and then turn it into carbon-neutral biochar to use in the garden as a soil amendment. Visit www.carbonsync.ca for details.
GO ORGANIC: The Bees Knees Christmas Trees in Chilliwack, the first Christmas tree farm in Canada to be certified salmon safe, grows organic trees. This year there are two varieties, Douglas fir and grand fir, priced at $50 up to six feet, $65 for six to 10 feet. The Bees Knees donates $5 from every tree to the B.C. Wildlife Rescue Association, to which customers are invited to return trees for naturalizing animal enclosures and composting. It also offers fresh wreaths, swags, pinecones and other decorations. Each Saturday until December 17, The Bees Knees will be at the Vancouver Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium, 33rd and Ontario. Ordering in advance is recommended: call 604-220-9927 or visit www.thebeeskneeschristmastrees.ca.
Photo: Clinton Hussey