Real Christmas trees in Ireland are grown in special Christmas tree farms in much the same way as other farm produce is grown. This means that they are planted specially for Christmas tree production, they are tended and looked after during their growing period and, at the appropriate time, they are harvested. Furthermore, each tree that is harvested in December is usually replaced in January by another.
Real Christmas trees make an essential contribution to the atmosphere, — cleansing it of carbon dioxide (called “carbon sequestration”) and replacing it with oxygen. Therefore, the growing of Christmas trees helps us to meet our commitments to reduce our “Carbon footprint”. We must remember, however, that, sooner or later, this carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere when real Christmas trees decay or are burnt. Therefore, in order to maintain the sequestration of carbon, it is essential to continue replanting each year.
Christmas trees, and the surrounding hedgerows, provide an attractive and much-needed refuge for birds and other forms of wildlife. In general, real Christmas trees require a period of eight to twelve years to reach market size. This means that they can provide cover for wildlife all the year round.
If Christmas trees were not grown in Ireland, they would have to be imported, with the consequent loss of money from the economy. On the contrary, our Christmas tree growers benefit our economy by exporting large quantities of real Christmas trees each year to the U.K. and mainland Europe. We have more than enough real Christmas trees in Ireland to meet all our needs.
In Ireland, the purchase of artificial Christmas trees makes no fiscal or environmental sense. Fossil fuels are used in their manufacture and transporting them half ways round the world. Their carbon footprint is at least 10 – 12 times that of a real Christmas tree. But the main problem is due to the fact that they are usually made from PVC(polyvinyl chloride), a petroleum-derived plastic. It is non-renewable and polluting, and you can’t recycle it. If you cannot buy a real tree, then don’t buy any tree because your artificial tree will eventually be incinerated or end up in landfill —- either way it will damage our environment.
How can I dispose of my real tree after Christmas? We suggest that you take your real Christmas tree along to your local county council depot and they will be very happy to take it from you. It is nice to know that, in doing so, you are contributing to the beauty of our parks.
Please do not leave any metal, such as a stand screw, in the butt of the Christmas tree as it will destroy the blades of the chipper.
Alternatively, you can simply strip the branches from the stem with a secateurs. Cut the stem into 25 cm (10 inch) lengths and leave to dry over the Summer in a corner of your garage. It will make excellent firewood. You can dispose of the branches in the same way as you would hedge cuttings.