Saving water is what we love to do. It’s our way of making a difference in the environment and contributing to a sustainable future. As you can imagine, water consumption dramatically increases around the festive period – with all those roast dinner pans to clean it’s, no wonder! But this Christmas, we’re looking at other ways you can reduce your water footprint. Today, we’re here to tell you that your Christmas tree might just be the key.
What sort of Christmas tree should I be buying?
There’s a lot of debate surrounding artificial vs fake. Still, the reality is, that you’ll need to keep your artificial tree for a minimum of 7 years before it becomes sustainable. Bear in mind that the average lifespan of an artificial tree is 5/6 years. After that, it is often discarded. Artificial trees are made from plastic (PVC), so they use a lot of water during their production process. For 1kg of plastic, 180 litres of water are needed. Meaning your tree could use as much as 3,240 litres just to be produced!
So, our first tip to reducing your water footprint this Christmas is by purchasing a real tree. While they grow, they will help remove CO2 and toxins from the air. Unlike the harmful factories producing artificial but even better, they can be grown and sustainable sourced locally.
Most artificial trees are produced in China and are shipped across the oceans, polluting as they go, and harming our environment. There are plenty of local Christmas tree farms in the UK, all positively contributing to our environment. This year purchase a sustainably sourced real tree from a local business. Look out for the FSC logo and reduce your water and carbon footprint all in one!
Caring for your tree
Once you’ve purchased your sustainably sourced tree, the next step is to care for it. As we’ve spoken about in previous blogs, overwatering plants and trees is actually a more common way to kill a plant than to underwater it. So, there’s your first tip.
If you’re new to real trees, then here’s some easy-to-follow advice.
Once a Christmas tree is cut, sap will seep from the bottom and seal the base of the tree in around two hours. It’s why you should purchase a tree nearby and get it fresh. Once the sap has coated the bottom of the trunk, it’ll be much harder for the tree to soak up nutrients from the water. If your tree was cut before you picked it up, you should trim the base of the trunk. Be sure to make this a straight cut and not at an angle. This way, the tree can evenly consume water from the base.
Due to the nature of being cut, a freshly chopped tree can drink a lot of water in the first 24 hours. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself topping this up more than once. It’s because the tree no longer uses its roots to stay hydrated. It almost ‘panics’ about where it’s next drink is coming from.
How much should I water my tree?
When it comes to watering your Christmas tree, there are a few more ways to reduce your water footprint. The first is to gather rainwater. If you’re an avid gardener you may already own a water butt but if not, you can just pop a couple of buckets of water outside and collect rainwater. Use the collected water to care for your Christmas tree and your water footprint will be shrinking every day.
If you don’t have a garden or a way to collect rainwater, there are a few ways you can reuse water from around your home. Transfer old water from the kettle or cups around the home and use them to water your tree, alternatively reuse the water from the kitchen. When you boil vegetables, or rice, allow the water to cool and use it to care for your Christmas tree.
On the whole, your tree will vary in how much water it drinks on a day-to-day basis. The key is to check the levels each day and top up when necessary. Don’t allow the water levels to get below the base of the trunk and your tree should remain healthy for the entire festive period.
On average, a thirsty tree will drink 3 litres of water per day, which over a month (the average length of time we keep them for) will use 90 litres. Just 90 litres of water for a tree compared to 3,240 for an artificial. Not to mention that you can recycle it afterwards! Not only is a real Christmas tree an environmentally friendly option, but it’s a water-friendly one too.