by Kimberly Blackford
It’s getting close to the time when the Christmas decorations are taken down and stored away until next year, but what about the empty live tree that needs to be disposed of? You’ve read all about how live trees are the way to go if you are trying to live a greener lifestyle, but now that Christmas is over, what are some of the best ways to recycle the tree?
Some areas of the country are lucky enough to have recycling programs in their community, so if you have one, chances are, your tree can be left at your curb on regular pick-up days. Or, your community may have a Christmas tree drop-off site where you can take it and dispose of it. Another trend has local non-profit groups like the Boy Scouts offering a pick-up service and often a small donation is all that may be required.
All of the above ideas seem logical, but are you looking for more creative ways to use that leftover tree? Then, the following ideas will offer some exciting ways to keep your tree useful for the environment.
If you’re lucky enough to have a stream or pond on your property, then toss your tree in the water. I know it sounds a bit funny, but a pine tree submerged in the water creates the perfect habitat for fish. Just be sure to remove all decorations from the tree and do not place in the water if your tree has been treated in any way. If you don’t have a stream or pond, then call your conservation department and see if there’s a place where you can do this. Your local fishermen will be glad you did!
Christmas trees can also protect the seashore, lakes and rivers by helping to eliminate shoreline erosion. The branches and trunk provide a natural barrier keeping sand and silt from washing away so easily. They also are helpful on shorelines devastated by hurricanes or strong storms by holding onto the sand.
Once again, if you have some land, then your Christmas tree may be best on land where it can decompose and become home to thousands of critters, creatures and other plant life. Or, trim the branches off and place them on top of perennial flower beds to keep the ground warmer and protect the area during the colder months. After the branches have been removed, the trunk can be made into a variety of things including a rugged trellis, tomato stakes and other garden extras. Another idea for use in the garden is mulching the tree for decorating flower beds and other areas around your yard. If you have a wood chipper, you can easily get a head start of your mulch supply for spring.
If you prefer to keep your tree intact, but still in your yard, then let it become a habitat for birds by securing the tree with a stand, stakes or twine and filling it with bird feeders, fresh fruit, popcorn and other goodies keeping the birds in your area satisfied all winter long.
The smell of fresh pine is one of the reasons why 30 million Americans celebrate Christmas with a real tree in their home each year, so if your tree is not too dry after the holidays, continue to enjoy the fresh scent by clipping off the branches and using them for decoration throughout your home. Not only are they beautiful, but the fresh pine scent will be welcomed by the entire family.
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