Dig It!: Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree
by Sage and Snow Garden Club
December 28, 2006
For many of us, decorating a Christmas tree is our favorite part of the holiday season. If you're one of the more than 30 million people who put up a live tree this year, you might want to consider extending its usefulness once the season ends. Instead of tossing your perfectly shaped pine or fir into the garbage where it will only end up in a landfill, try one of these creative recycling avenues:
1. Throw it in the water Christmas trees make great habitat for fish. Just toss it in your pond or stream. If you don’t happen to have a fishin’ hole on your property, contact local conservation groups. In many areas, they’ll pick up the tree and toss it into an appropriate pond or stream for you. While an old Christmas tree can provide habitat for fish, it must be done in an appropriate manner. Placing it in a pond is certainly not a problem. However, just tossing it in a flowing stream is not a good idea. A Christmas tree can provide habitat and also erosion control, but should be securely tied or anchored to the bank.
2. Keep it on your land Trees can provide lodging for all kinds of critters besides fish. If you have a suitable place on your property to let a tree decompose, it can become a nursery to insects, fungi and possibly even amphibians and reptiles. Or consider keeping it in its stand and placing it out of doors as a bird sanctuary; it will provide our feathered friends much-needed protection from wind and cold. You can even enjoy a second round of decorating by adorning the tree with enticing bird food:
• Suet smeared in the branches or made into balls combined with bird seed
• Pine cones coated with peanut butter and bird seed, then hung from branches
• Strings of popcorn, cranberries or raisins wrapped around the tree
• Hanging fruit slices
3. Use it in the garden Trim branches off and place them over perennial beds to reduce frost heaving caused by freezing and thawing. Be sure to remove the branches in spring when the plants begin to grow. Then use the trunks to create sturdy, homemade trellises or tomato stakes. The needles are acidic and will help neutralize our alkaline soil to make nutrients more available to our plants. Chip the tree and use it as a mulch around trees, shrubs or in flower beds.
4. Toss it in the stove Use a few dry branches as kindling to start your fires.
5. Keep it in your community Many communities have tree recycling programs that turn everyone’s old trees into valuable mulch. At this time it appears that there will be no recycling available in Pinedale this year, but keep watching the newspapers for more information.
Sage and Snow Garden Club
The Sage and Snow Garden Club meets the second Tuesday each month at noon in the Pinedale Library. If you have questions about the Garden Club or anything in this article or would like to provide ideas for future articles, please contact the Sage and Snow Garden Club at email@example.com or Box 2280, Pinedale, WY 82941 or come to one of our meetings.