Agriculture | Ecotrope

Everlasting Christmas trees: You cut them down, and they grow back

Ecotrope | Dec. 19, 2011 5:48 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:33 p.m.

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The Christmas trees at Pieropan Farm in Massachusetts have achieved a unique sort of immortality. Farmer Al Pieropan planted them in 1955, and they’re still alive even though they’ve been cut down numerous times.

Like a creature with regenerative limbs, Christmas trees will continue to sprout new stumps if you cut them just right.

Ecotrope reader Dave Miller posted this link in response to my post about growing organic Christmas trees. The Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm featured in the above video has another way of growing organic Christmas trees that doesn’t require the farmer to dig up the stump of the cut tree. Instead, the tree is cut about three feet from the ground and allowed to sprout a new stump. It’s a “stump culture” method Al Pieropan started in 1955 and continues today – on the very same trees.

The farm’s website explains the benefits of this permaculture method:

“Gone is the plowing and seeding a cover-crop, gone is the stump-pulling and planting seedlings trucked long distances, gone is the herbicide and pesticide used to maintain a sterile monoculture. The trees are not planted in rows, and the grove is really more a managed woodland than a field of trees. All shaping and thinning is done by hand; the trees are cut by hand and hauled by hand.  Because they rely on handwork and the trees’ innate tendencies rather than fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers and pesticides, stump culture Christmas trees provide a sustainable alternative to conventional trees.”

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