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The Pros and Cons of Real vs Artificial Christmas Trees

real vs artificial christmas trees sherwood park salisbury greenhouse

There seems to be an ongoing debate on real vs artificial Christmas trees and which are the superior purchase. Truthfully, there is a case for both sides, and while I’m quite partial to real trees, there are many understandable reasons why some folks opt for artificial trees instead. Are you unsure of which side you stand on the subject? Here are the pros and cons of fake trees and real trees, so you can make an informed purchase this year.    

Comparing Real vs Artificial Christmas Trees

Is a Real Tree More Environmentally Friendly?

Yes! While many folks are quick to assume that cutting down evergreen trees = bad, the Christmas tree industry plants millions of trees every year, and they have a negative carbon footprint because they release far more oxygen into the air than the amount of carbon released during transport and production. Plus, they’re all completely natural and biodegradable, so they’ll break down quickly after disposal.  

Artificial trees, on the other hand, are made of plastic and are often shipped all around the world, so their carbon footprint is much higher. Plastic takes thousands of years to completely break down, so it’s not so great for the earth. That being said, there are still reasons why some folks would prefer to purchase an artificial tree “” read on to find out why.    

christmas trees at tree farm

Pros of Fresh Cut Trees

On top of being environmentally friendly, there are plenty of reasons to love fresh-cut evergreen trees at Christmas time. Here are some reasons why you should consider buying a real tree this year:

  • The smell is amazing! The nostalgic scent of fresh-cut evergreen is next-level amazing. No candle or Glade plugin could ever possibly compare. However, there are also trees that don’t omit much of a scent if you’ve got a sensitive nose or an allergy.
  • When the holiday is over, you just throw it out instead of storing it, so if you’re in an apartment or a place with minimal storage space, you won’t have to worry about packing the tree away for next year.
  • They look beautiful, and there’s never any question that they’re real! To get an authentic-looking fake tree, sometimes you have to shell out a lot more cash.
  • There are so many varieties to choose from, with different price points and features, so you’ve got plenty of options to fit your budget, scent, and colour preferences.    

The Cons of Fresh Cut Trees

Just like with any other plant, there is some upkeep required to keep your evergreen tree looking fresh, so you should keep in mind the following when considering your purchase:

  • Different tree species have different watering needs””some even need sugar water! Be prepared to provide water for your tree to soak up, so it doesn’t end up turning brown and dropping needles.  
  • Even the most well-kept tree is likely to drop some needles when getting taken down, and some varieties are more prone to needle drop than others. This can be a bit of a messy cleanup, but it’s not unmanageable as long as you have a good vacuum.  
  • Some people, regardless of how powerful the scent of the tree is, will have an allergic response to a fresh-cut tree. While it’s usually nothing worse than some itchy skin and a stuffy nose, it can be quite uncomfortable for some. Check with your family and anyone who may be celebrating the holidays with you to see if they have a history of allergies to cut evergreens.  
  • The needles are mildly toxic to animals and aren’t digestible, so if your cat or dog ends up eating some, they’ll end up with an upset tummy and a mess on the carpet.
artificial christmas trees

Pros of Artificial Christmas Trees

There are plenty of reasons why some people prefer fake trees over real ones. Here’s why:

  • You don’t have to repurchase them every year. Buy a good quality artificial tree, and you could keep it for over a decade!
  • Many come with built-in lights, are lightweight, and easy to assemble and disassemble.  
  • They’re always hypoallergenic.
  • The materials are often much softer than real pine needles, so they’re less prickly.
  • No messy cleanup! Needles won’t drop from a fake tree.  
  • Fake trees are pet-safe!

The Cons of Artificial Trees

From an environmentalist standpoint, fake trees aren’t so great, but there are a few other reasons why people prefer real trees in the real or fake Christmas tree debate:

  • Fake trees don’t have that fresh, natural scent.
  • They can be kind of expensive if you opt for a nicer quality tree, and the cheaper ones don’t always look very authentic. Though I do recommend investing in a nicer tree that you’ll intend to keep for longer, that way, you won’t end up throwing it out right away and producing unnecessary plastic waste.
  • Storage can be a bit of a hassle.  
  • Dust can collect in the branches and needles over the years, so you may need to clean it.
artificial trees at night in greenhouse

Have you decided which side you’re on in the battle of real trees vs fake trees? Whichever you decide on, Salisbury has plenty of options for both, so come visit the greenhouse soon to see all the different coloured varieties, in whatever size you need. Call ahead for curbside pickup if needed!

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