Madrileños buy tens of thousands of trees to decorate their homes at Christmas, however only 200 firs return to the municipal nurseries for recovery once they are devoid of lights and ornaments, and only half of them manage to consolidate themselves again, according to Efe municipal sources have indicated.
From January 7 and until the 31st, the Nursery of the Casa de Campo and the Stoves of the Retirement will pick up Christmas trees that are alive, within a campaign begun more than 20 years ago by the Madrid City Council with the goal of offering a second life to the firs after the holidays.
The essential condition for trees to recover is that the root ball is kept in good condition, cohesive and lightly moistened, preferably "at the rate of two glasses of water a week approximately", explained to Efe the technician of the nurseries of the City , Francisco Javier Espalla.
However, there are other variables, such as the choice of fir type, that must be taken into account if the buyers want to help the trees to compensate.
According to Espalla, the most commonly purchased species of spruce in the Community – and which most reach the back nurseries – are the 'Picea abies' and the 'Abies pinsapo', although "neither is the most suitable for Madrid".
The first comes from central Europe and some high areas of Spain, says Espalla, who warns that this plant "requires more moisture than we have here" and does not appreciate the heat.
The 'Abies pinsapo', native to the Sierra de Ronda in Málaga, does not resist very high temperatures either, which is bought in smaller quantities because of its higher cost despite the fact that "they have more roots", which favors their transplant.
"These species are bad to repopulate", underlines Espalla, who considers it more advisable to buy another type of conifer, such as cedars and pines that, in his opinion, would be more suitable to be placed in private gardens once the festive season is over.
"They are outdoor plants that should be kept out, with winter weather and frost, and get inside, with a high temperature and no irrigation," he says.
In that sense, the spokesman of Ecologists in Action, Juan Garcia, points out that it would be necessary to "educate the people" when buying the firs, with some "instructions" for their care, or else to opt for other options from the beginning more sustainable, such as "placing a birth, lights or other type of ornaments" less polluting.
For his part, the municipal technician remembers that, once they have been purchased and moved home, the plants have to spend as little time as possible inside the house and away from intense sources of heat such as radiators or stoves.
In addition, to facilitate their transplantation it is recommended to pay special to the root ball, which in many cases is usually already damaged before, since they are extracted "quickly" from their area of cultivation, "without just root".
In the nursery of the Casa de Campo, the collection will be made from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon, and in the Retiro, throughout the day.
The City Council reminds you that no cut branches, spruce with broken roots, without roots or dry or artificial trees will be collected.