Landscaper gives clients sustainable option of living Christmas trees

Updated Dec 4, 2015
Landon Kennedy started his business in February and chose to work with plants instead of snow for the winter season. Photo: Landon KennedyLandon Kennedy started his business in February and chose to work with plants instead of snow for the winter season.
Photo: Landon Kennedy

Why chop down a young Christmas tree that will find its way to the trash heap after a month, when you can rent a live one and know that it will eventually be planted?

After being inspired by what he saw done in Vancouver, Landon Kennedy, Canadian landscaper and owner of FromTheGround, is offering his clients in Calgary the opportunity to rent live Christmas trees.

Depending on the size of the tree the price varies from $100 to $200, but includes delivery, setup and a few waterings during the four-week rental.

“I just see lots of trees that are full of chopped down baby trees, and it’s come to a time where we need to reevaluate the traditions we have,” Kennedy said. “It’s an effort to make a dent.”

Since it is his first year offering the service Kennedy only has white spruce available from 3 feet to 7 feet tall, but next year he intends to stock a larger variety. It costs Kennedy about $160 to purchase an evergreen from a nursery.

One of the issues he has encountered this year is that most of the nurseries that he buys from have already winterized their stock.

Unlike warm-weathered Vancouver, Kennedy has the challenge of preparing the trees for a drastic temperature change by slowly moving them from outside, to garage temperatures, to inside.

Once his customer’s rental is done, Kennedy will pick up the tree and keep it until he can find it a forever home.

“My parents own a little acreage in British Columbia and some of the nicer ones I’ll sell to my landscaping customers,” Kennedy said. “I’ll have to see what kind of quantity I’m working with. I’ll definitely have to find a place to plant them, but they definitely won’t go to waste.”

Kennedy started his landscaping business in February this year and focuses mainly on low-maintenance landscaping and organic gardening. He is also author of the upcoming book Get Dirty: The Ultimate Gardeners Handbook.

Most other landscapers in Calgary spend this season doing snow removal for clients, but Kennedy wanted to do something with sustainability.

“There’s been such an overwhelming response, I can’t see it not working out,” he said. “Even if the demand is low, I would still do it. It’s more about the principle behind it than making some money.”

Kennedy thinks that the Christmas tree rental system could work well in other places, especially warmer climates because of the more consistent temperatures for the trees.

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