Maryland Department of Agriculture Kicks Off Christmas Tree Promotion with Official Lighting of 20-foot Tree from Harford Co.; Encourages Marylanders to Buy Local, Fresh, Natural Christmas Trees this Holiday Season
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting, joined by Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) staff, kicked off the State’s Christmas tree promotion this week with an official tree lighting ceremony at MDA headquarters in Annapolis.
Christmas trees are a fresh, fragrant crop, designed to be cut and eventually returned to the earth. The MDA promotion of Christmas trees continues the agency’s efforts to encourage residents to “buy local” and follow environmentally sound agricultural practices. Artificial trees are usually petroleum based, imported from overseas and do not biodegrade. Buying locally grown trees, including choose and cut trees, supports family owned farms and businesses, preserves farmland, protects the environment, and keeps money in Maryland. In addition, the farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide wildlife habitat.
While they’re growing, real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. After Christmas, trees can be recycled in a variety of ways, including being chipped into mulch that returns valuable nutrients to the soil. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture for Maryland, there are more than 200 Christmas tree growers in the state with nearly 3,000 acres in production. To find a Christmas tree farm near you, visit www.marylandsbest.net.
MDA staff lit a decorated 20-foot white pine Christmas tree to encourage Marylanders to buy a real Christmas tree, rather than an artificial one, this holiday season. The tree was donated to MDA by Deer Creek Valley Tree Farm in Harford County. The farm’s owner Wilma Muir is also president of the Maryland Christmas Tree Association.
“We are so pleased to have one of our larger trees on display in Annapolis,” said Mrs. Muir. “We hope it will catch everyone’s eye and get people interested in real trees and all the benefits they provide our environment and our communities. There are still people who think they are saving a tree by buying a fake Christmas tree and they have no idea how far from the truth that is.”
Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Top 10 Reasons to Buy a Fresh, Locally Grown Christmas Tree
10. While they’re growing, real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen, unlike artificial trees which are petroleum-based.
9. A real Christmas tree is biodegradable, which means it can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes, whereas an artificial tree is only used for six to nine years before it is thrown away, remaining in a landfill for many years.
8. Christmas trees can be recycled in a variety of ways, including local government programs to chip them into mulch that returns valuable nutrients to the soil.
7. The farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide wildlife habitat while creating scenic green belts.
6. When growing in open space, a 3” in diameter Douglas fir tree can reduce atmospheric carbon by 23 pounds and intercept 102 gallons of stormwater runoff per year (Davey.com tree calculator).
5. Christmas tree growers plant one to three new seedlings for every tree they harvest, rarely using fertilizer after planting.
4. When you buy directly from a farmer, that dollar will circulate through the local economy four times, strengthening our communities.
3. When farmers are profitable, they are able to stay on the land, keeping it open and productive for the benefit of all.
2. Evergreen trees look and smell wonderful and are part of a sentimental American tradition.
1. Visiting a tree farm is great holiday fun for the entire family.