The Greenest Christmas Tree

Christmas trees come in all shapes, sizes and shades of eco-friendliness. Since artificial ones are made of lead-containing PVC, real trees from local farms are a more eco-responsible way to go. From saplings to harvest, Bay Area farmers use sustainable, non-forest-impacting practices to grow trees that help reduce carbon emissions, produce oxygen, prevent soil erosion and provide refuge for wildlife.


Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm ( has been growing trees this way since 1967. “Our trees are planted on East Bay MUD land, which used to be brush and grassland,” says owner Paul Illingworth. “We don’t use any insecticides or irrigate, and depend entirely upon natural rainfall.”


Other local farms are doing the same, and families are invited to join the experience by choosing and cutting their own trees. On the Peninsula, Santa’s Tree Farm ( and Lemos Farm ( are in Half Moon Bay. In the South Bay, you can visit Bay Area Christmas Tree Farms in Los Gatos ( and Crest Ranch ( in Santa Cruz. Up north, Little Hills Christmas Tree Farm ( can be found in Petaluma.


After the holidays, trees can be ground into mulch and used along park trails, turned into corrugated packaging or used as garden compost. Here’s to a green, happy holiday. 

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