Christmas trees are evergreens, which mean they retain their foliage or needles year round. They are grown in all 50 states and have been sold commercially in the United States since 1850. Although the commercialization, or mass-production, and development of the christmas tree is quite recent in United States history, evergreen trees have held a special meaning and have been used in the home for thousands of years. According to www.History.com, evergreen boughs were hung over doors and windows to keep out witches, spirits and ghosts long before the arrival of Christianity.
Today the christmas tree industry is flourishing with over 21,000 christmas tree growers across the United States. Approximately 2,000 evergreen trees are planted on each acre, but only a 1,000 to 1,500 will actually survive. The most popular types of evergreens used for christmas trees include scotch pine, fraser fir and white pine. Each year approximately 73 million "christmas" trees will be planted. They will be harvested within 8 to 10 years when they will between six and eight feet in height. The christmas tree industry employees approximately 100,000 people and is a billion dollar industry with over 31 million christmas trees sold in 2007.
The christmas tree industry is also an eco-friendly industry in many respects.
The planting of christmas trees on farms helps improve air quality
Over 90 percent of christmas trees are recycled
There are over 4,000 christmas tree recycling programs nation-wide
Real christmas trees are 100 percent biodegradable [unlike plastic 'fake' christmas trees]
Decomposing trees can put nutrients back into the soil, such as nitrogen
Christmas tree farms provide habitat for wildlife
Going to pick a pre-cut christmas tree, or, for those more adventurous, going to cut down a christmas tree makes wonderful family memories and traditions that will be remembered for years to come. For those environmentalist enthusiasts, there is now the option to purchase "living christmas trees" that are in pots and can be planted after the holidays.
Tips for cut christmas trees:
If you do not water your tree within an hour of cutting down [or you purchased a pre-cut] cut off the bottom inch of the trunk to help it absorb water and stay green longer
Water regularly with sugar water - initially the tree may use up to a quart of water daily
Keep away from heat sources like vents, which can dry the tree out
The most important tip is to decorate and enjoy the beauty of the tree.