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California gardener rents out real and reusable holiday trees

ROB SCHMITZ, HOST:

Rent a car. Rent a room. Rent a Christmas tree? California gardener Monica Hudson rents out real and reusable Tannenbaums. They're potted, of course.

MONICA HUDSON: It was an idea that came to me when I watched a TV program of a bargain shop in Britain loaning their trees to their customers.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

That was 2009. Hudson was working as a tour guide then, but business had slowed due to the recession, so she started Rent a Living Christmas Tree. It's now up to about a thousand trees and draws hundreds of renters from California's Bay Area and Central Coast.

HUDSON: Today, we don't bother advertising because our trees are usually booked. Oh, we have a few odd trees left now, but the bulk of the trees are booked by Thanksgiving.

SCHMITZ: Customers can pick their tree online based on species, height and price. There are big firs, juniors, even the most modest Charlie Brown specials. An 8-foot tree rental goes for about $125.

HUDSON: When you order a living tree, it arrives. It's in a pot. It is fresh and beautiful. And your responsibility is to water it every day.

MARTÍNEZ: After Christmas, the tree gets picked up and sent back to the nursery, and there it stays in its pot, hooked up to a drip irrigation system to keep it green for the following holiday season, as it awaits its next new temporary home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE")

BRENDA LEE: (Singing) Rocking around the Christmas tree. Let the Christmas spirit ring. Later we'll have some pumpkin pie, and we'll do some... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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