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California Landscape Contractor to Take Living Christmas Trees to Burn Areas

Industry News, Green Contractors

A Dana Point lot owner pledges to plant trees returned to her in burned forest areas.

The Orange County Register | December 4, 2008

One Dana Point, Calif., business owner is making sure this Christmas has a little more green than previous years, and she's doing it with trees.

Heidi Rennert, owner of 20-year-old landscaping firm Tranzplants, says she has been "green" most of her life. She set up recycling programs as a child in school and traded her car for a fuel-efficient hybrid a few years ago. Working with plants has her concerned about the environment. Inspired by other small companies and other efforts to stay green, she is offering a Christmas tree adoption program.

GET MORE GREEN 

She has pledged to accept returns of any trees purchased from her and brought back alive and to deliver them to areas burned in the past two years of Southern California wildfires.

"This year, with all of these fires going on and the budget crisis, I got to thinking, 'How would they be able to afford trees and plants for the burned areas?' " Rennert said.

Besides her concern for reforestation, Rennert said she is always saddened in the days after Christmas when she sees trees lying by the road waiting to be picked up and mulched.

Half the people who have purchased Christmas trees from her lot say they will bring them back to be replanted in a forest. The other half say they will plant them at their homes.

"People can go home, enjoy a living Christmas tree, then put it in a pot out in the back yard and bring it in next year," Rennert said.

Rennert, who has fallen on financial difficulties of her own, has had to eliminate 13 positions at her company of 16 employees this year, leaving just three to finish the landscaping she has contracted to do.

"In the last seven years, I've been booked solid, doing five to six jobs a week," Rennert said. "Now the phone isn't ringing, and developers are closing their doors."

Despite the ailing economy, Rennert has sold more than 50 percent of her Christmas trees and expects them to sell out this week.

"People are tired of only hearing bad things, and this is a way they can do something good," she said.

 

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