Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Choose a locally grown Christmas Tree

What would Christmas be without the tree? Through all the hustle and bustle and commercialism of the holiday season, there is still something almost magical about turning off the lights in the house and plugging in a newly decorated Christmas tree for the first time.

Most people would be hard pressed to explain why this simple act of bringing a tree indoors and covering it with decorations and lights can evoke such a sentimental response or why it is so important to their holiday celebration. And yet, for many people, the tradition of picking out the Christmas tree is one of the favorite activities that helps to turn Black Friday into Green Christmas Fun.

For some, Christmas tree shopping takes place in a department store parking lot or an empty field where hundreds of trees lie bundled and stacked, flattened from their long trip from another state. The tree is just another purchase picked up along with the groceries and dry-cleaning.

But for those who want to squeeze a little more sentiment into their holidays, the tradition of picking out the family tree begins on the farm – the Christmas tree farm, that is.

Environmental benefits of Real Christmas Trees:

While they're growing, Real Christmas Trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases and emitting fresh oxygen. 

The farms that grow Christmas Trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas Trees are grown on soil that doesn't support other crops. 

Real Christmas Trees Are Renewable (and recyclable). 

Real Christmas Trees are grown on farms just like any other crop. To ensure a constant supply, Christmas Tree growers plant one to three new seedlings for every tree they harvest. 

On the other hand, artificial trees are a petroleum-based product manufactured primarily in Chinese factories. The average family uses an artificial tree for only six to nine years before throwing it away, where it will remain in a landfill for centuries after disposal.

Visiting a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm is like a trip back in time when families would trek to the woods to cut down their own growing tree. At a Christmas tree farm, the feeling is very much the same. Children can run and play among rows and rows of beautifully shaped living trees to help choose the one that will best fit into their family’s holiday plans. The whole experience is a fun family adventure that adds a little bit more excitement to the holiday plans.

Besides the pleasure of the experience itself, choosing a tree from a local choose-and-cut tree farm has several other advantages. For one, the trees are much fresher than a tree that is cut in another state and trucked to the area. This means the tree will last longer, lose fewer needles and be less of a fire hazard.

Being able to see the shape of the tree in its true standing position is another advantage to buying from a tree farm rather than buying a tied or wrapped cut tree.

Purchasing a locally grown DC area tree means less fuel is used in transportation. It also supports the farmers of the area and boosts local economy.

Where to find locally grown Christmas Trees:

Butler’s Orchard- 22200 Davis Mill Road • Germantown MD 20876 • Telephone – 301-972-3299 Beginning the day after Thanksgiving. Choose and Cut your own Christmas Tree from acres of carefully pruned Douglas Fir, Canaan Fir, and White Pine! 5' tall and up.  

Gaver Farm- 5501 Detrick Road, Mt. Airy, MD – 301-865-3515 Choose and Cut your own and Pre-Cut selection from over 50 acres of beautifully shaped trees!  

Homestead Farms- 15604 Sugarland Road, Poolesville, Maryland 20837 Cut your own Christmas tree! Saws provided.  

Naughty Pine Nursery - 18200 Elmer School Road, Dickerson, MD - 301-785-8622 Large selection of Christmas Trees

Middleburg Christmas Tree Farm- Route 630 (Unison Road) and Christmas Tree Lane, Middleburg, Virginia. (540) 554-8625

Snickers Gap Christmas Tree Farm - 34350 Williams Gap Road, Round Hill, VA 20141 - (540) 554-8323 Now in their 30th year, they are a family owned choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm located near Bluemont, Virginia.

Ticonderoga Farms- 26469 Ticonderoga Road , Chantilly, Virginia ph: 703.327.4424 Beautiful selection and many other activities to add to the fun

For more information, visit: National Christmas Tree Association Quick Facts

Maryland Christmas Tree Association
And these lists from the Christmas Tree Farm Network:
Maryland Christmas Tree Farms
Virginia Christmas Tree Farms

National Christmas Tree Association Members in Maryland
National Christmas Tree Association Members in Virginia

For a more complete list, visit the article on Christmas Tree Farms in Maryland and Virginia

Water, Trees & Gardens in the DC Area Program

How do gardeners think about water in the DC Area and what is the role of “Green Spaces” in managing water quality and quantity? These are the questions that will be discussed at the weekly DC Area Water Issues Program (DCAWIP) on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

This program will feature speakers on the ties between water, trees, and gardens, followed by a reception and GARDENING PROGRAMS FAIR.

UDC’s own Master Gardener Program Coordinator Sandy Farber Bandier will provide a brief overview of the Master Gardener Program, and share “a gardener’s perspective” on water issues in the DC area, based on her personal experiences and questions she receives from area residents. The main speakers for this week’s seminar will be Marcelo Lopez of Wiles Mensch Corporation, low-impact design expert and designer for Casey Trees’ new Brookland headquarters, and Mark Buscaino, Executive Director of Casey Trees, who will discuss Casey Trees’ work with the DC Department of the Environment on tree planting to address the city’s stormwater issues, as well as other water-related benefits from low impact design and green space.

During the Reception, area gardening programs will provide representatives to discuss their programs and display materials, sign up volunteers, and promote their programs. Information will also be available on the many programs of the new UDC College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), including research, outreach, and extension.

As always, the DC Area Water Issues Program Weekly Seminars are FREE and OPEN to all students, faculty, water managers and other members of the "DC Area Water Community."

The program will be held at UDC-Van Ness , Building #41, Room A-03, 4200 Connecticut Avenue NW , Washington DC

4:00-5:30 pm Seminar and Dialogue
5:30-6:30 Gardening and Agriculture Program Fair and Reception  

For more information, contact Dr. Tolessa Deksissa, CAUSES/UDC, at 202-274-5273 or or Dr. Cat Shrier at 202-344-7894 or

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