ANNAPOLIS, MD (Dec. 2, 2020) – Today, the Maryland Department of Agriculture continued its annual tradition of decorating a Maryland-grown tree to display outside its headquarters during the holiday season. The department also encourages Marylanders to support the state’s Christmas tree farmers by buying locally-grown, fresh-cut holiday trees, rather than purchasing artificial trees or trees grown out of state.
“Christmas trees are an important agricultural crop in Maryland and many of our farmers work year-round to provide customers with a high-quality product,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder. “This year more than ever, it is important that we continue to support our tree farmers. When you choose to buy locally you are helping support a Maryland farmer, boost the local economy, and help the environment.”
As the state continues its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, visiting a local tree farm is a great, low-risk activity for families looking to get outside and celebrate the holiday season. Agritourism operations across the state remain open in compliance with state and CDC guidelines on social distancing.
Deer Creek Valley Tree Farm, a family-owned and operated tree farm in Harford County, donated a 20-foot white pine that stands tall outside the main entrance of the agency’s headquarters. Farm owners Bob and Wilma Muir are members of the Maryland Christmas Tree Association, an association of growers and retailers with nearly 100 members across the state.
Maryland farmers offer some of the freshest holiday trees available, including the popular Fraser fir and Canaan fir as well as the Douglas fir, Concolor fir, Scotch pine, White pine, and Blue spruce. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture for Maryland, there are more than 185 Christmas tree growers in the state with nearly 2,200 acres in production. Nationally, there are more than 15,000 Christmas tree growers in the U.S. and the fresh-cut Christmas tree business generates nearly $377 million in sales, according to the latest agriculture census.
Not only do real trees look and smell amazing, they are also a renewable and recyclable resource that keeps unwanted waste out of our landfills. Artificial trees are often petroleum-based, imported from overseas, and do not biodegrade, so they eventually end up laying in landfills forever. In contrast, real Christmas trees can be recycled at the end of the holiday season, often chipped into mulch that returns important nutrients to the earth.
While growing, Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. When growing in an open area, a 3-inch diameter Douglas fir can reduce atmospheric carbon by 23 pounds and intercept 102 gallons of stormwater runoff per year.
Buying locally-grown trees, including choose-and-cut trees, supports family-owned farms, and businesses, preserves farmland, and protects the environment. To find a Christmas tree farm near you, visit MarylandsBest.net. For more information about the benefits of purchasing a Maryland-grown tree, please check out the Maryland Christmas Tree Association’s website.
After the holidays are over, check with your county about its tree recycling programs. For other tree recycling tips, visit www.realchristmastrees.org/All-About-Trees/How-to-Recycle.