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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois
christmas tree ornament

12 Interesting Christmas Trees Facts

Posted by Ron Wolford - Holidays

What do you really know about Christmas trees and their history? The following are a few interesting Christmas tree facts.

The tradition of an official Chicago Christmas tree was initiated in 1913 when one was first lit by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park. The tree was a 35-foot Douglas Spruce placed on 40-foot poles and studded with smaller trees to give the appearance of a much larger tree.

From 1887-1933 a fishing schooner called the "Christmas Ship" would tie up at the Clark Street Bridge in Chicago and sell spruce trees from Michigan to Chicagoans.

In the 1930's the Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles. The company used the same machinery that it used to manufacture toilet brushes, but they were dyed green.

In 1963, the National Christmas Tree was not lit until December 22nd, because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy.

The official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933. Since 2004 the tree has been topped with a 550-pound Swarovski Crystal star. And since 2007, the tree has been lit with 30,000 energy-efficient LED's which are powered by solar panels.

Christmas trees are grown and harvested in all 50 states.

Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington are the top five Christmas tree producing states.

It takes an average of seven years of fighting heavy rain, wind, hail and drought to grow a mature tree.

The most common Christmas tree species are: balsam fir, Douglas-fir, Fraser fir, noble fir, Scotch pine, Virginia pine and white pine.

Artificial trees will last for six years in your home, but for centuries in a landfill.

25-30 million Real Christmas Trees are sold in the U.S. every year.

Live Christmas trees are involved in less than one-tenth of one percent of residential fires, and mostly when ignited by some external ignition sources. The major factors involved in Christmas tree fires are electrical problems, decorative lights, candles, and a heat source too close to the tree.

Check out the University of Illinois Extension website Christmas Trees & More for more information: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/trees/



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