TreeCycle 2021

Celebrate the Resourcefulness of Christmas Trees

What is TreeCycle?

Happy Holidays! We at DCH wish you joyful winter celebrations with beautifully decorated trees and sumptuous wreaths.  DCH wants to help you continue the resourcefulness of trees even after the holidays are over—by repurposing, recycling and reusing your holiday trees and wreaths. To help you know what to do with your tree in January, we’ve put together some fun and interesting facts to share with your friends and families about Christmas trees.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are close to 350 million Christmas trees currently growing on Christmas tree farms in the United States alone and about 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees sold every year. In 2019, about 26 million real Christmas trees were sold in the United States [1]. Figures from the National Christmas Tree Association show that U.S. consumers spent an average of 76.87 U.S. dollars on real Christmas trees.

[1] Statista Research Department, Nov 4, 2020

The story of Christmas trees in the United States

The custom of decorating an evergreen originated in Germany around the sixteenth century and was introduced in North America in the eighteenth century by Brunswick soldiers. Spruce and pine are often used, but the most commonly used species are fir trees, which retain their needles when dry and also retain good foliage color and scent.  Trees were traditionally decorated with edibles such as apples, nuts or dates and illuminated by candles (!).

Want to know what kinds of trees become Christmas trees?  Check out this website!

Some interesting Christmas tree factoids:

Because real trees are biodegradable, there are many ways in which they can be reused and recycled, including as bird and fish feeders or mulch. For a complete list of ideas, check out the National Christmas Tree Association resource guide. At DCH our Tree Cycle is designed to help you do your part to help the environment.

  • Around 98% Christmas Trees are grown on farms throughout all 50 states and Canada. Trees are planted as a commodity just as corn is cultivated for harvest.
  • The Christmas Tree industry in the United States employs more than 100,000 Americans (part- and full-time).
  • Every acre of Christmas Trees grown produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people. With approximately 500,000 million acres of trees, 9 million people a day are supplied with oxygen thanks to these trees.
  • Christmas Trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; they also stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide a refuge for wildlife.
  • For each Christmas Tree harvested, up to three new seedlings are planted in its place.
  • Christmas Trees are completely recyclable.
  • In a national survey, 69% of tree buyers said they recycled theirs in a community program.

Christmas Trees are recycled for five main types of large-scale uses for post-harvest trees. These are:

  • Chipping (chippings are used for various things from mulch to hiking trails)
  • Beachfront erosion prevention
  • Lake and river shoreline stabilization
  • Fish habitat
  • River delta sedimentation management

And GOATS! Here’s a link to a story about how goat farmers are feeding Christmas trees to their goats!

Above are some pictures from TreeCycle 2020

Want to share your Christmas tree recycle, repurpose, re-use story?  Send Wes Wootten (wwootten@thedch.org) a photo and story of your tree by January 15 for our Christmas tree “legacy” gallery.

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