Conservation Connection: Recycling Christmas Trees

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(KPLR) - The end of the holiday season may be in sight, but did you know your retired Christmas tree can keep on giving?  It can find a second career in a variety of conservation-friendly ways!  Conservation Department Community Forester Mark Grueber has suggestions on how to put that tree to work after the holidays are over.

Q.  Christmas trees can be helpful for gardeners, can’t they?

  • 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 35
  • Or drop trees off at Creve Coeur Park Lake, near the Sailboat Cove Boat Ramp

Q.  Many local municipalities offer Christmas tree recycling programs, don’t they?

  • 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

Q.  What about burning the tree in a fireplace?

  • Not recommended to use in indoor fireplaces or wood stoves due to high content of flammable oils—could result in very high flames and hazardous creosote build up
  • Christmas tree branches do make excellent outdoor fire pit and campfire starters

Live Christmas Trees are a multi-use, renewable forest resource!