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Real Ontario Christmas trees are the environmentally friendly choice

Thursday, December 14th 2006 3:38:44pm

(December 15, 2006)  There’s nothing better than a real Christmas tree.  Carla Grant, Executive Director of the Ontario Forestry Association, explains why and offers some excellent tips for finding that perfect tree.

Why choose a real tree over an artificial one?  Ms. Grant explains that, “Trees are grown on farms specifically for Christmas, and as they grow, they provide wildlife habitat, soil and water retention, and a carbon sink.  Real Christmas trees are also grown in Ontario and are 100 per cent bio degradable, unlike artificial trees, which are often transported halfway around the world and contain all kinds of toxic chemicals.”

When purchasing a pre-cut Christmas tree, Ms. Grant suggests checking for freshness: “First, brush your hand across the needles.  If a lot of them fall out, the tree is not very fresh.  The fewer needles that come off, the fresher the tree.  Next, check for sap seeping from the cut on the trunk.  Seeping sap is another indication of freshness.”

When cutting the tree yourself, Ms. Grant says to “look for a straight trunk with few gaps in the branches.”

And once you get the tree home, Ms. Grant states “it is essential to cut a couple of centimetres off the bottom of the trunk to provide a clean surface for the tree to take up water.  If a fresh surface is not created the tree will not take up water. It’s vital that the tree is watered every day to keep it moist.  As well, it’s important to keep it away from any heat sources to avoid drying out.”

The most popular native Ontario species of Christmas tree is the Balsam fir because it has soft needles that last longer than other species.

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To arrange interviews, for more information about the Ontario Christmas tree industry or private land forestry please contact Carla Grant, Executive Director of the Ontario Forestry Association, at 416-493-4565, cell 416-435-2349, carlag@oforest.on.ca, or Brent Kulba (ECO), 416-972-7401.

The Ontario Forestry Association is a non-profit, registered charity dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of Ontario's forests, and to developing stewardship of forest ecosystems. Visit www.oforest.on.ca.