The artificial tree consists of three main ingredients:
– Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
– Polypropylene (PP)
– SteelSometimes small quantities of lead and tin are added. Many of these additions cause health complaints as liver diseases and reduced fertility. Especially the use of PVC granules during the production process has negative consequences for the environment. Eighty per cent of artificial trees is produced in China, Korea and Taiwan. So a lot of these artificial trees have traveled thousands of miles before standing in your living room.
The natural Christmas tree removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and converts carbon dioxide to carbs and oxygen. Estimated is that one hectare of Christmas trees daily provides enough oxygen for about 44 humans. Weeds are, during the cultivation of Christmas trees, exterminated by as many as manual and mechanic manners as possible, so there are very few (chemical) herbicides used. Saving the edges of the fields is beneficial for various types of wildlife. By doing this, we create a lot of food in the soil, where organisms such as ants, mice, caterpillars, earthworms, crickets and moles profit from. Furthermore, a natural Christmas tree has that unique fresh pine smell, so you don’t have to buy a special can to create that scent.
The Nordmann fir (Abies Nordmanniana) is a large, evergreen Christmas tree with a wide, pyramidical growth structure. Very old trees may get a sort of a flat crown at the end. The trunk is mint green at the bottom and then transforms to a light brown and later grey colour, higher up the tree. The bark is smooth, but without resin, which is one of the characteristics of the Abies family. The needles are stiff and leathery en can turn into a beautiful dark green. The needles are also spread out wonderfully over the tree, although the bottom is usually flat. The tip of the needle is usually a bit notched, the upside is a nice dark green, and the underside has a blue-grey line on it. The seed cones are erect and are cylindric. They will first show up after fifteen to twenty years. The Nordmann fir is the most commonly used Christmas tree, because the tree keeps its needles, even after it has been cut down.
The Fraser fir (Abies Fraseri) is a tree that belongs to the genus Fir (Abies). It is used as both a garden and a Christmas tree. The tree is decorative, because it already has bright coloured cones at a height of just one to two metres. Naturally, the tree can be found in the south-eastern part of the Appalachian mountain range, in south west Virginia, the west of North Carolina and the east of Tennessee. The Fraser fir can reach a height of 25 metres, the thickness of the trunk being 75 centimetres in diameter and it has a crown which is 6 to 12 metres wide. The branches are situated horizontally in respect to the trunk. The crown is conical. The tree is dense when it is young, but becomes more open as it ages. The bark is thin and smooth, gray brown with numerous resin blisters on young trees, becoming fissured and scaly with age. The 12 to 15 mm long, dark green, flat, flexible needles are arranged spirally on the twigs, but they seem to be spread in two rows, because of a twist at the base. The needle has a rounded or slightly notched tip, and have two silvery white stomatal bands on the underside.
The Serbian spruce (Picea Omorika) has its origins in present-day Serbia, where it grows to a 25-30 meter tall tree with a width of 3 to 5 metres. It is native to the lime mountains of Bosnia and Serbia. It is a very slender, ascending to cone shaped tree, with elegant (suspended) branches. These suspended branches are slightly faced up towards the end of the branch. The growing speed isn’t particularly fast with just 2 to 2.5 metres every 5-7 years. You can create gorgeous contrasts with its beautiful needles and columnar shape in the garden. Especially the underside of the needle is very attractive with two rows of white stomatal bands. The needles have a shiny green colour on the upside, and are 1.2 to 2.5 centimetres long. The cones are 3 to 6 centimetres long. The cones start appearing at a very young age of the tree. They are the most beautiful at the beginning, when they are coloured in shades of violet. Later on, as they ripe, they turn into a shiny cinnamon brown. As a Christmas tree, it is mostly used in a clod or as a potted tree, not in the least because of its nice, slender way of growth.