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Selecting, maintaining, and sustainably disposing of a real Michigan Christmas tree

Bert Cregg
G L Kohuth | Michigan State University
Bert Cregg

Bert Cregg is a professor of Horticulture and Forestry in Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Cregg talks about the Christmas tree industry’s place in Michigan’s economy and says there are plenty of trees available for those who want them this season. He talks about the latest MSU research on Christmas trees and says that climate change is likely already impacting the industry. And he shares his tips for selecting, caring for, and properly disposing of a real tree.

 Conversation Highlights:

 (0:34) – “Michigan is a major producer of Christmas trees. We rank number three in the country. Oregon and North Carolina are ahead of us, but Michigan’s claim to fame is that our growers grow a lot more types of trees than those other states.”

 (1:40) – “You might hear some things in the media about a Christmas tree shortage. Most consumers who are looking for a tree will find one.”

Bert Cregg in the MSU Audio Studios
Russ White | MSU Today
Bert Cregg in the MSU Audio Studios

 (3:31) – “People may not realize that it actually takes about eight to ten years to grow a Christmas tree.”

 (5:53) – Climate change “has a lot of potential impact and probably already is (having impact). A lot of the impacts of climate change are going to be around the shoulders of the growing season.”

 (7:12) – Cregg describes the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

 (9:00) – Cregg’s tips for selecting and caring for your tree, including his pull and tap tests to use when selecting the tree. His says the key is to get the freshest tree you can right from the start.

 (11:29) – “People don’t appreciate how much water a tree can take up. Your tree is dead, but it doesn’t know it yet.”

 (15:08) – Cregg’s tips for properly and sustainably disposing of your tree after the holidays. “Whatever you do, don’t cut it up and put it in the trash so that it ends up in a landfill.”

 (16:23) – All about the Michigan Christmas Tree Association site, “which is a good place to find a real tree near you.”

 (17:58) – “It’s a great family tradition…we certainly don’t think about artificial flowers for Valentine’s Day, so why do we think about artificial trees?”

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