Conservation Connection: Real Christmas trees

Posted on: 1:36 pm, December 18, 2013, by

(KPLR) – As you’re wrapping up your holiday shopping, why not consider putting wildlife on your gift list? If you have a real Christmas tree, you won’t even have to do any shopping.  Your tree can be a gift for plants and animals long after the holidays are over.  Community Foresters Mark Grueber and Perry Eckhart talk with John Fuller about it.

Q.  First of all, any care suggestions for those who have fresh cut trees?(Mark)

  • Keep tree away from heat sources like furnace, wood stove, fireplaces and drying vents
  • Make sure the tree is properly watered—check daily
  • Do not dispose of in fireplaces—
    • Can be dangerous due to high content of flammable oils
    • Could result in very high flames and hazardous creosote buildup!


Q. What are some good ways to use real Christmas trees after the holidays?

  • For gardening
    • Remove branches and chop up trunks to use for garden mulch
    • Pine needles are very moisture and mold-resistant
    • Cut bows and place over perennial beds to help protect from frost and snow


Q.  Do you have some ideas for bird and wildlife watchers?

  • Place the tree in your backyard or on your property as a brush shelter for wildlife or upright as a bird feeder
  • “Decorate” with  orange slices, bird feeders or peanut butter-covered pine cones
  • Sink in ponds or lakes to create habitat for fish


Q. Where can viewers take their trees if they can’t use them at home?

  • Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles will be accepting trees after the holidays to use for fish habitat—drop off at lakes and 34
  • Or drop trees off at Creve Coeur Park Lake, near the Sailboat Cove Boat Ramp


Q.  Many local municipalities offer Christmas tree recycling programs

  • St. Louis City offers 3 drop off sites—
    • Forest Park, at the lower Muny parking lot
    • O’Fallon Park
    • Carondelet Park
    • Check with other local municipalities or public works for programs
    • Be sure to remove all ornaments and decorations
    • Many let you drop trees off where they will chip them
    • Mulch is made available later for gardens and flower beds and to use around newly-planted trees


Real Christmas trees are a multi-use, renewable forest resource!