Gary Korpan’s letter of Dec. 8 (Annual Christmas tree ‘slaughter’ continues, amidst concerns about global warming, environment protection) laments the cutting of thousands of evergreens for the Christmas traditions.
Aside from the tone of his objections, he makes several valid points. However, there is an alternative between a cut tree or a plastic imitation. In one corner of our family woodlot here in Merville, we have planted several hundred noble firs (Abies proceera). This is a pagoda-shaped tree with well-spaced branches stiff enough to support generations of ornaments: cotton-ball angels, rumpled pie-plate stars, egg carton elves, and variations of ol’ Saint Nick. Noble fir lives up to its name with scent, silvery blush on the underside of the green needles and amazing needle retention.
We utilize a technique called “stump culture” to harvest a dozen or more trees for family and friends annually. This method addresses many of Gary’s objections. We cut the stem above the bottom two or three healthy branch sets (whorls). After a year or two, these residual branches reach for the sun and, having an intact root system, will produce one or two new trees in half the time usually required. We get a tree now and in the future, and an armful of fragrant boughs for wreaths or door swags.