Having a month dedicated to a single item is a special honor indeed. What is there about Virginia Christmas trees that merits this tribute? The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers this list of the top ten reasons to celebrate Virginia Christmas trees during December, which is Christmas Tree Month:
10. Because of Virginia’s good climate and fertile soil, farmers here can grow a wide variety of Christmas trees including white and Scotch pines, Norway and Colorado blue spruces as well as Douglas, Fraser, Concolor and Canaan firs.
9. Every year Virginia Christmas tree growers sell approximately one to two million Virginia grown trees with a wholesale value of $20-40 million. With the added value of the foliage for wreaths and garlands, their total contribution to the Virginia economy is up to $50 million.
8. Real Virginia Christmas trees are a renewable resource and for every one harvested, two to three seedlings are planted in its place.
7. Virginia Christmas trees contribute to a healthy environment, with each acre of trees providing the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people.
6. Virginia Christmas trees are recyclable and after the holidays their trunks can be ground into mulch; their needles are excellent mulch for acid-loving plants.
5. Christmas trees are a valuable and aesthetically pleasing addition to the land and can be planted on barren slopes and difficult spots where other crops will not grow.
4. Christmas trees are environmentally friendly. As they grow, they provide an excellent wildlife habitat and help prevent erosion. After use, they enrich the soil as they decay.
3. Locally grown Virginia Christmas trees are the freshest available and will stay beautiful longer than trees brought in from other states.
2. When buyers choose real Virginia Grown Christmas trees, their purchases benefit the grower, the environment and the state’s economy as well as those who enjoy the tree’s freshness, fragrance and lasting beauty.
1. Selecting, harvesting and decorating real Virginia Grown Christmas trees bring families and friends together to share the joy and good will of the Christmas season.
For all these reasons and many more, Governor Bob McDonnell has declared December as Christmas Tree Month in Virginia. Here is one of the Governor’s top reasons: “Christmas tree farming is part of Virginia’s most economically important industry, agriculture, and buying real Christmas trees from Virginia growers helps them maintain their agricultural operations and helps expand the overall economy of the state.”
For information about fresh Virginia Grown Christmas trees, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has published the 2012 Virginia Grown Christmas Tree Guide, available by calling 804.225.3663 or by sending a request to VDACS, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218. The information is also available online at VirginiaGrown.com.
– Elaine J. Lidholm