Our City Forest nursery in San Jose encourages renting a holiday tree this season

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Sunday, December 6, 2020
SJ forest nursery hopes shoppers rent holiday trees
With the winter season upon us, San Jose's Our City Forest nursery program is encouraging residents to rent a holiday tree in 2020 instead of chopping down and purchasing their own.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The holiday rent-a-tree program run by Our City Forest Nursery and Training Center in San Jose is back this December, with hundreds of potted trees to be offered up for winter festivities.

The trees come in tall, short, traditional and non-traditional options for customers, and Our City Forest wants residents to open their homes for the holidays for these unique, leafy visitors.

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The holiday rent-a-tree program is in its sixth year of operation, working towards the goal of getting residents to rent a potted tree to decorate for the holidays instead of chopping one down just to discard it a month from now.

Our City Forest community nursing program manager Gabby Fitts believes the pandemic present a great opportunity to create new holiday traditions that support the environment and family budgets.

"It's a beautiful way to kinda reinvent the holiday tree," Fitts says, "We're living in a weird time so might as well mix up the trees this year."

Per nursery rules, participants maintain the trees throughout the holiday season before they are planted in Silicon Valley at the start of the new year to combat California's growing deforestation crisis.

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A Bay Area Christmas tree farm owner says people seem to be buying trees earlier than normal this year to bring some normalcy in their lives.

Maggie Larsen of San Jose came to Our City Forest on Friday to pick out a potted tree with her five-year-old daughter.

"Usually we buy a Christmas tree and throw it out," Larsen says, "and I feel like it's such a waste of money and resources just to grow it and throw it away,"

With regards to the types of trees being offered, Our City Forest said there's something for everyone.

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"We do have some traditional, not so much spruces, but there are conifers and evergreens we love to see around the holidays and of course we have the non-traditional trees as well," says Fitts.

Renting a 5-gallon tree comes with the cost of a $40 tax-deductible donation to the non-profit, whereas 15-gallon trees will run shoppers an $80 donation, and measure between three to six feet tall.

"It encourages residents to rent a living tree that will eventually be planted in Santa Clara County," said Fitts. "It's an effort to reforest and green the places we live and spend 90% of our lives: in urban areas."

Renters are allowed to place lights, smaller ornaments, and garland on the trees.

Our City Forest Nursery and Training Center is located at 1000 Spring St in San Jose.

The public can pick up trees from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday from December 4th - 19th.