Good Earth Plants Green Guide to Buying Christmas Trees


“It’s coming on Christmas,” and like the song says, “they’re cutting down trees.” But wait, who would’ve guessed that buying a pre-cut, real, 100% natural Christmas tree is the “green” way to go?

My friend Peter Gaughen is a true Christmas tree expert, and Peter schooled me in why choosing a real fresh cut tree for your home is the sustainable, responsible choice for those who are looking to decorate with a traditional Christmas tree. Peter knows what he’s talking about. After 35 years in the business, he operates one of the best tree lots in San Diego County with the greatest variety of trees.

Located just off Route 67 in Santee at 1131 Woodside Drive, he has Noble fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, King Boris fir and a new variety, Nordmann fir. The Nordmann fir is originally from Turkey, but does really well in a Mediterranean climate like San Diego. He even has wreaths and my favorite, mistletoe.

“If you think about the science behind having a fresh-cut tree, it makes sense,” says Peter. “Pine and Fir trees put out a tremendous amount of oxygen into the air. That’s why taking a deep breath in the mountains is so refreshing.”

“So we buy from farms that plant a sustainable tree crop that gets replenished while adding oxygen, groundcover and beauty to the environment. It’s much better planting science than in the 1950s when people cut down wild trees. Now your fresh smelling green tree can leave behind a stump that will re-grow to someone else’s tree in the years to come. Plus the smell is fantastic!” says Peter.

I asked Peter for his top tips for keeping your Christmas tree fresh and green through the month of December.

  • Select your tree from a seller who has their trees in water already
  • Make sure the seller cuts one-half to three-quarters of an inch off the bottom of your tree trunk before taking it home, and put it into water quickly upon getting it home.
  • As soon as your tree is standing up, make sure it has lots of water. Otherwise, the trunk will “sap over” or heal, and this stops it from absorbing much-needed water.
  • Place your tree away from heat sources. This includes vents, fans and even a sunny window. Sun through a window acts like a magnifying glass on tender trees and will dry them quickly.

Did we mention your tree needs water? It does.

From everyone at the Good Earth Plant Companies, we wish you happy hunting for the perfect Christmas tree. If you visit Peter’s lot this weekend, say hi if you see me there.