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Top 10 reasons to buy a farm-grown Christmas tree

Top 10 reasons to buy a farm-grown Christmas tree
Christmas tree farming is a special niche for Kansas agriculture, provides a holiday treat for customers.

Picking out a Christmas tree is always an exciting part of the holiday season. Here are some of the reasons you should consider buying your tree from one of the approximately 40 tree farmers who grow Christmas trees in Kansas.

1. When you buy your tree from a Kansas Christmas tree farmer, you are supporting agriculture. Christmas trees are one of the specialty crops that can offer families a chance to earn some income and experience agriculture as a hobby while continuing a career in another field. Christmas tree farms are often a significant source of income for retired farmers.

LOTS OF TREES: Tree farms like Pine Lake Farm at Derby provide scenic green belts. Trees are often grown on soil that is not suitable for other crops such as corn or soybeans.

2. Buying a farm-grown tree is good for the environment. Many people think that cutting down Christmas trees is bad for the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tree farmers plant from one to three new trees every year to replace the ones that are harvested. The new, rapidly growing trees remove carbon from the air and sequester it in the soil. At the end, they can be recycled.

3. No harmful chemicals are used in the creation of a farmed tree. While artificial Christmas trees are made from petroleum products, primarily plastic, farmed trees are all natural vegetation. Most artificial trees are made from PVC plastic, which over time can release lead and dioxin into the air in your home.

4. Buying a tree from a farmer creates jobs in America. Most artificial Christmas trees sold in the U.S. are made in China. Christmas tree farmers employ workers in the U.S. Across the country, tree farms employ more than 100,000 American workers.

5. Buying a farm-grown tree helps the critters of the wild. Tree farms provide habitat for a variety of wildlife while the trees are growing. After Christmas, many trees are used to provide habitat for fish by being sunk in ponds or lakes. The sunken tree branches provide shelter that protects baby fish from predators.

6. Christmas tree farms are pretty. Tree farms provide green belts. They help stabilize soil and protect water supplies by slowing runoff from the fields where they grow. They provide scenery along roads or highways.

7. A farm-grown tree makes your home smell like Christmas. The only way to get a clean, evergreen smell from an artificial tree is to spray it with a chemical scent. A farm-grown tree will fill your home with the clean, fresh evergreen scent of pine, spruce or fir.

8. Farm-grown trees are less of a fire hazard. Many people think that artificial trees are less likely to catch fire. In reality, faulty wiring or other fire hazards can cause artificial trees to explode in flames. Real trees are more likely to just have one branch in the immediate area of the fire hazard scorched or burned. When artificial trees burn — or even just smoke — they create toxic fumes.

9. You know your tree is fresh. You can buy a real tree from a big-box lot like Wal-Mart. But when you do, you don't get to meet the grower. It may have even been grown hundreds of miles away and cut weeks before you buy it. It will lose more needles and become dry and brittle long before a tree that you harvest yourself at the farm. Most tree farms have shakers to remove any loose needles before you take your tree home, so it arrives cleaner and stays cleaner during the season. 

10. Going to a tree farm can become an awesome family tradition. The memories made by riding the hay rack out into the field, fanning out to search for the perfect tree and bringing it home last a lifetime. Children can even take a stroll through the rows of smaller, growing trees and watch those trees grow year after year — just like they do — until the time is right for one of them to be the perfect tree.

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