(Frequently asked Questions and Answers)
Do you work with businesses? Here's how it works for businesses... We would need to deliver one the Day after Thanksgiving, then pick it up mid December and deliver a new one. We'd charge enough to cover our costs, which depends on how many business clients we have, which isn't many because we can't afford yet to promote to businesses. We deliver big trees 15' to 25' tall for 400$ to $1,500.
Since i save money by getting and returning my tree in my vehicle, how does that work? Here's a link to a document with all the info.
Can I get a tree earlier than your scheduled delivery date? If your early tree is displayed outside, like on a porch or deck in front of a window, then moved inside on our delivery date, then yes. (The trees can't be inside longer than 18 days to be healthy for planting, the circulated indoor air dries them out.) We deliver as early as the day after thanksgiving for trees that will be displayed outside. So, yeah- Christmas trees on porches and decks.
I live in an apartment / condo building with a shared secure main door. Can I still get a tree delivered? Yes, but there's a fee of around $20. On the order form please write us some notes about the logistics. Like let us know that we will have to either leave it outside or in the lobby or call you etc. You may have to give your concierge / leasing office written permission for us to go in your home and get your tree because the best we can do is say we will come by in the evening over a few days, delivering, then picking it up, if you're not there we can't afford to come back again and would go to the concierge / leasing office and they'd let us in, otherwise you could pay us to come back or return it yourself by 1/6/13pm.
What's the most aromatic, (best smelling) tree we offer? (Of course they all have their aromatic qualities.) The Balsam fir, and Redwood are the most aromatic. Any tree you get can 'smell' more if you pinch a few needles in half each day.
Which tree is most like a Noble? The Nordmann fir is most like a Noble fir. We don't offer Nobles, except some years we do, we're testing if they survive after planting, they don't transplant as well.
Can I pick out my specific tree? Maybe in future years, if you get your tree in your vehicle. It's not practical for delivery.
Can I see a tree in person? Most years we have trees on display in public areas like at grocery stores so you could contact us to ask where you could go to see an example tree.
Are you a bunch of tree hugging environmentalists? Well, not that there's anything wrong with that. We say cut trees are just like cut flowers- beautiful Nature grown as a crop. It's not like if people stopped buying cut Christmas trees all that farmland would turn into forest. So cut Christmas trees aren't a forest issue. Most cut trees are chipped up after Christmas, turned into mulch which becomes part of the soil. Ironically people care about the environment so we buy artificial trees instead of cut ones. But that isn't accurate environmentally. In 1992, according to a consumer survey by the National Christmas Tree Association- 35 million households bought cut Christmas trees, and 36 million had artificial ones. A decade later 32 million bought cut Christmas trees and 50 million had artificial. That's like 15 million artificial trees instead of cut trees. We started in '92 and since then potted trees have made 0% increase. Ideally media would broadcast our story- potted trees live after being inside for Christmas. We share on our website here how anyone anywhere can do a potted tree. Potted trees are best for the environment because they are grown for Christmas then clean the air for hundreds of years after being planted. Besides being best for the environment a live tree is has a presence, like houseplants are good for the soul. It's mind blowing that a lit up decorated tree in ones home will be part of a landscape and a hundred feet tall someday. We might not turn Christmas into a tree planting holiday where millions of trees are grown and planted to counter air pollution (climate change / global warming). But ones Christmas tree planted each year is good for goodness sake and cleans ones own share of pollution.
I don't get your business model, can you explain more please? We buy, rent and sell trees. Part of our clients payment for their Christmas trees goes toward 'sponsoring' the price of their tree to it's planter. Sponsoring means their tree is never used as a Christmas tree again and the planter gets a deal on it. The $10 we sell the Christmas trees for after Christmas is less than half of what we bought them for. And we buy them in quantity from the country at less than wholesale. So if a landscaper has a job that needs trees, instead of buying them in the country from a tree wholesaler, ten bucks is a deal! We're the original and only 'sponsor a Christmas tree'. There seems to be less than 20 'rent-a-tree' services worldwide. They use the potted trees as Christmas trees over and over, year to year, as the tree gets less healthy, not planted. 'Rent a Christmas tree' businesses seem to be wholesale or retail plant nurseries. They charge around $150- just for delivery and pickup. We charge from 70 to 95$. The trees we buy get planted each year so we buy trees every year, not reuse them. We don't want to give away the trees to planters for free because the trees are worth money, and we'd have to raise the price $10 to Christmas tree clients.
What does your company do that's good for the environment? We use hybrid cars to go to the country to select trees (car share biz, Zipcar.com). We make a trip to the Metro transfer station (dump) in the NW industrial area each year to recycle the plastic bags, and plastic pots that we are no longer able to use.
Can you help me move it inside my home? To keep the price as low as possible, we don't offer that service. We suggest getting a 6´ tree to make it easier to move. The 6´ trees weigh around 70 pounds. You don't need to lift it, just slide it like a laundry basket.
What if I want to keep my tree and plant it myself? Please email us so we won´t come by your house after New Years to pick up your tree. Then see the planting recommendations on our website Buyer / Planter page. You do not have to return the pot to us. Also, please mail us a check, or figure out how to use PayPal, for $20, which covers the cost of the pot and to cover the price of the tree we would have sold to a planter.
How are the costs of the trees determined? The main reason we charge $75 - $95 for a Christmas tree is delivery. We rent big trucks that get 8 miles a gallon and have three truckers to move heavy trees. We also pay a lot more for trees to be dug up rather than chainsawed. We also pick the trees up after the Holidays and we have a website and we buy bags and pots for each tree and we spend a lot of time finding buyer / planters for the trees. We do sell the trees for $10 each after New years but that's because the trees have value to buyer / planters. If we gave them away people would think live Christmas trees have no value as trees for planting, and we'd have to charge our Christmas tree clients $10 more. We deliver and pick up our trees because live trees with their roots in pots are not convenient enough for folks to transport themselves. We hope that you feel good about your $75- $95 Christmas tree payment going into the local economy; (Uhaul, employees, website, pots, bags, cloth, Kinkos and keeping the owner from working at a um crappy job). Similar services charge around $150 and they reuse their trees instead of all of them getting planted like we do. Here's the total list in the world, let us know if you find others: adoptachristmastree.com, evergrowchristmastrees.ca, Friends of the Urban Forest, Plant Manning's Tree Concern, The Living Christmas Co. Let us know if you find others in the world.
Is there any other service that does this as well? We're the original and only such service in the world. Other companies rent trees, and reuse them in future Christmases, instead of all the trees getting planted. All the trees we offer as Christmas trees are planted the following spring in watersheds to grow old. Other potted Christmas tree companies donate or sell a few of their trees to be planted. The most similar company is a non-profit in San Francisco but they don't offer evergreen trees, they offer nontraditional trees like magnolias, but all of em get planted, they credit us as their inspiration- fuf.net.
Why are there only a certain number of trees available? The number of trees is based on the number of buyer/planters that agree to buy and plant our clients Christmas trees after New Years. We make sure every tree has arranged to be planted before offering them as Christmas trees. If parks departments, landscapers, conservation groups, etc only order to buy and plant 300 trees, then only 300 can go to Portlanders for Christmas trees. So contact your local parks department and get them to buy your tree and other of our clients trees ($10 each) and plant them in your local park! Email us to get a list of public planters to email.
How can I have a living Christmas tree if I live outside of Portland? We offer information on how anyone anywhere can conveniently have a potted tree on the Outside Portland page of this website.
Can I drop off my living Christmas tree if i didn't get it from TOLCTC? Yes, please contact us and we will arrange a day in the first week of January when you can drop your tree off for the planters.
Are your trees organic? Sometimes. We are as ecologically responsible as possible. One tree field we are buying 200 trees from this year hasn't sprayed to kill weeds in years. Because we buy our trees from a variety of tree growers, we don´t grow trees ourself, the best we can do is work towards the organic goal. Of course we´ll share that info when we make that breakthrough. We hear there's a similar service in Portland that copied us and they offer only organic trees.
I´m on a very low budget and although I love your idea and understand why they cost more, can I get a lower price possibly please if that's not too much to ask? Just volunteer for us and we'll knock bucks off. Every year we donate a few trees to worthy causes.
Do you really increase the number of trees planted because of the tradition of the Christmas tree? Yeah but only around 30% of the trees we offer and here's why... Ideally we'd grow trees, but we're not able to yet because it costs more initially. We buy trees from nurseries and fields planted for the cut Christmas tree market. We don't say we plant trees, because we sell them to people who plant them- instead we say things like 'the trees are planted'. We don't say the trees grow old, because 100% don't survive- instead we say things like 'the trees are planted to grow old'. We don't say trees are saved, unless we buy trees from fields of trees grown for the cut Christmas tree market (then we say trees are 'rescued'). We don't say the point of what we do is (any)% of the trees we offer are planted because of Christmas- instead we say things like 'tree planting because of Christmas' because trees do get planted to grow old because of what we do, but it's a grey area what % and this is more detailed than is usual in media. Like when we say 'tree planting because of Christmas' well cut Christmas tree growers could say that as well, even though the trees are planted to be cut, but people get the point we're trying to make- we're the only ones who create trees growing old because of Christmas. The way we would be planting 100% of trees because of Christmas would be if we planted trees ourselves then rented and sold all of them (minus reasonable mortality). When we buy trees from fields grown for the cut Christmas tree market then, yes that is 100% tree planting because of Christmas. When we buy trees from nurseries it's less clear. If we have 100 clients, that's not 100 more trees planted because of Christmas because the nursery might have sold the trees to someone else if we didn't buy them. But every nursery doesn't sell every tree they plant so if we didn't buy 100 maybe some of those would have been bulldozed into a pile and burned, which is what happens to trees nurseries plant that got too big because they didn't sell them. A nebulous factor is the people who buy and plant our trees get a deal, so maybe some of them wouldn't have bought and planted trees, or bought and planted less, if they didn't get as good a deal. It's a legitimate point that we mainly 'transplant trees because of Christmas'. We're the only ones who create trees planted to grow old because of the tradition of the Christmas tree. at best we're at 30% because we buy from cut tree fields sometimes, we lower the price of trees to planters, and we create demand for potted Christmas trees. It's not possible to get to 100%, the most is like 70%. The 30% less is because of mortality and trees not shaped appropriately for Christmas trees.
How come you're the only one doing this after 20 years and you only do like 300 trees each year? Proving Christmas can be a tree planting holiday is pioneering, so it takes awhile. We didn't offer delivery the first year, we learned potted trees need to be delivered. We started before the internet, so we learned internet stuff. We don't come from a tree background, we learned tree stuff. We've been self financed and some clients order in October, on a shoestring is no way to go. We're not like almost all small businesses because Christmas comes once a year. We haven't worked and learned all of our 20 years, it's been more like 20 months. Starbucks pioneered retail espresso drinks. They were founded in 1970. They didn't become the Starbucks we all know until 1990. Starbucks is like a restaurant, open every day. We're like catering, it's all got to come together at one time (we've made 4 mistakes) and you get one shot till the next gig- in our case it's a year later. We're idealists doing business which is um the opposite of consoling. We may only do 300 trees each other but we prove millions of trees can be planted because of Christmas. Wanna help us franchise?