Living Trees for Christmas

living xmas tree




Every year in the U.S., 33 million holiday trees are grown, chopped down, and sold. It takes an average of 7 years to grow a tree, which ultimately ends up on the curb. 9.5 million plastic-artificial trees are sold each year, 80% of which are imported from China. Because of this, many people are bucking this wasteful practice by choosing to bring holiday cheer into their home with living, potted trees. Not only are living trees more eco-friendly, but, unlike artificial trees, they are grown in the U.S. and support the local economy! As a green alternative to artificial and cut trees, OCF will provide living trees this holiday season! You can rent a live tree for the month of December and feel great that your tree will one day be planted in a local school or park. Many types of living trees living xmas tree2will be available including the "non-traditional" options like Olives (the tree of peace). More traditional options include conifers such as Redwoods, Western Red Ceders, and Itialian Stone Pines. Delivery and pick up services will also be available!


By getting a live tree from OCF this year, you will be: Supporting a healthy urban forest Adding holiday cheer to your home with a living xmas tree vs. a dead/artificial one Helping to reduce waste by choosing a sustainable option Some additional benefits of choosing a live tree for the holidays this year include: Clean air in your home Less of a fire hazard Less mess If you take advantage of our delivery and pick up services, living trees are very convenient! In the coming months, living trees will be available to order online. Photos and descriptions of all trees will also be posted.

Please fill out our form in the next tab to order, donate, or have any questions. Please contact Ben Heistein at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any specific questions about the program.


Order from OCF

Order From OCF

If you would like to order a tree from OCF, or donate a tree your purchased elsewhere after the holidays, please contact us using the following form.



Donate Your Treee

How to Choose a Living Tree
for the Holidays


Make your holiday greener this year by buying a living tree from a nursery and after christmas, donating it on the first three Saturdays of January to Our City Forest from 8 AM to 3 PM (or by appointment) for planting afterwards. Drop your tree off at Our City Forest's Nursery. Your donated tree will be planted at a school or park in San José. If you are unable to drop off your tree at this time, please call (408) 998-7337 x117 to arrange an alternate drop off time.


Here are some important tips:

    1. Choose an appropriate species that can be replanted by OCF (See below).
    2. Gradually introduce your living tree to the indoor growing environment over three or four days via the garage or enclosed porch.
    3. Locate your tree in the coolest part of the room and away from heating ducts.
    4. Water your tree slowly every day or every other day when the soil on top is dry. The warmer your house is, the more water it will need. Make sure it gets enough water to reach all the roots. You will know it has enough water when you see water draining out the bottom.
    5. Leave inside no longer than 10-14 days.
    6. Never add nutrients or fertilizers.
    7. Carefully introduce tree back outside using the reverse of #2 above.


      What to Buy
      The following is a list of evergreen conifers that can make great holiday trees and are well suited for planting in the Santa Clara Valley. The trees that have the most potential to be replanted are the incense cedar, any of the true cedars, and some of the pines. 



      Calocedrus decurrens (incense cedar)
      Cedrus atlantica (atlas cedar)
      Cedrus brevifolia (cypress cedar)
      Cedrus deodara (deodar cedar)
      Cedrus libani (cedar of Lebanon)
      Cupressus arizonica (Arizona cypress)
      Pinus eldarica (afgan p.)
      Pinus pinea (stone p.)
      Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa p.)
      Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood)
      Taxus baccata (english yew)
      Taxus brevifolia (Western yew)
      Torreya californica (CA nutmeg)


      Avoid if Possible:
      Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir) – due to size, soil & climate limitations.


      Do Not Buy:
      Pinus radiata (Monterey pine)- These trees are short lived and are susceptible to the pine pitch canker disease, so we cannot use them.

      * If you would like to donate a tree species that isn't listed, please contact us to ensure we can accept it.

      If you have any additional questions, please contact OCF at (408) 99-TREES x 117.






      Contact Us

      (408) 998-7337
      1590 Las Plumas Ave
      San Jose, CA 95133
      Nursery: 1000 Spring St.