Proper Christmas Tree Disposal
As the holiday season comes to an end you may have noticed your real Christmas tree looking a little ragged and dry. Instead of putting your tree out to the curb, where it’ll take up space in our crowded landfills, perhaps you can use it on your property. There are many ways your dead tree can be utilized, let’s take a look at the most conservation minded options.
Shelter for Backyard Wildlife
You can leave the tree right in its stand, and set it out in the yard for the rest of the winter. It can fill in a bare spot, giving you something pretty to look at, but, more importantly, it can provide winter shelter for birds. If you have plenty of trees around consider laying your tree on its side creating a brush pile, the branches will provide shelter from cold and strong winds for mammals such as rabbits. You can even enjoy a second round of Christmas by decorating the branches with slices of fruit, suet, strings of cranberries, and seed cakes. Have your kids dangle peanut butter smeared pinecones along the tree’s limbs.
Build a New Compost Pile
A great base for a new compost pile is a layer of thin branches -- including evergreen branches. This allows a bit of airflow at the bottom of the pile, and the branches will break down over time. Just trim them down so they fit in your bin. After you've got them in, go ahead and start adding your kitchen scraps and other compostable items as usual. When composting Christmas trees, it is be beneficial to strip the tree of its needles, as they are tough and, thus, resistant to composting bacteria, slowing the entire process.
If you have a pond, and your tree is chemical-free, submerge it into the water to provide sheltering habitat for overwintering fish.
You don't need a fancy chipper or shredder to make mulch out of your dead tree, you just need a little patience! To turn your tree into mulch simply cut the thinner tree branches into one to two inch pieces. Add these small pieces to already mulched paths. It’s a cheap way to mulch, and as a bonus, the path will smell great when you walk on it.
Cut long branches from your Christmas tree and lay them over perennials to insulate them from snow and frost. This is especially useful for perennials that are susceptible to frost heaving, as well as those that are only marginally hardy in your zone. A covering of evergreen branches could be the difference between losing a plant this winter and seeing it bloom again next year.
The trunk can then be dried for a few weeks and turned into firewood. But be aware that fir trees are filled with pitch and, when dried, can literally explode, so take great care if you are going to burn them.
If you still can't find a use for your tree....
Check to see what your city or township offers. Some communities will accept your old trees and shred them to use as mulch on park trails. For a full list of recycling options available please visit the Butler County Recycling and Solid Waste District website.