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What Should I Do With The Christmas Tree?Master Gardener Scoop – December 28, 2016

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By Renea Starr,

Master Gardener

After the gifts have been unwrapped, and you have returned from grandma’s house from over the river and through the woods, it is time to think about what to do with your Christmas tree. If you have watered it well during the season, it should probably be in pretty good shape and not too dry. Many people place a Christmas tree bag around the base of the tree when they set up the tree, making it much easier to get it out of the house without losing a million pine needles.

If you live near water or know someone who does, your old tree can contribute to the habitat for marine life. You might want to take it out far enough from the boat dock so that when fishing, you will avoid a snag. Just make sure the tree hasn’t been treated with any chemicals that might get into the water system and that all ornaments and tinsel have been removed.

The old Christmas tree also makes a wonder natural resource for birds. When taking it outside, you could even leave it in the stand.

Some Christmas trees come with pine cones as natural ornaments. A real treat for habitat is to spread the cone with peanut butter for your feathered friends. You could also hang bird feeders from the branches. Maybe you strung popcorn on your Christmas tree. Leave that on for the birds, and they will love you for it. Do you have the ends left from your loaf of bread? Stick those on a branch.

If you want to make your own potpourris, strip the pine needles from the branches and store for later use. The aroma will last indefinitely.

In the spring when food becomes more plentiful for the birds, get out the chainsaw and start cutting the trunk into narrow disks. These can be used to edge your bedding plants for a really natural look. If you burn your Christmas tree in the spring, the ashes will provide valuable nutrients for your garden. Just make sure you abide by the burn rules for your area. In addition, pine needles make wonderful mulch for the garden. This works well for produce such as strawberries. The pine needles provide a bed for the strawberries to rest on.

Many of the local communities have various programs for disposing of your Christmas tree. The Corps of Engineers have a wonderful program in Clinton County. Trees can be donated until January 30 at these locations: Plant Land on Old Highway 50 east of Breese, the Keyesport boat ramp and the Little Prairie Nature Trail parking lot which is in the Dam West Spillway at Carlyle Lake. In late winter, the trees that are collected will be dropped in Carlyle Lake to provide habitat for the variety of fish that call the lake home.

Here is a rundown of the other surrounding communities Christmas tree removal programs:

Both Centralia and Salem will have a collection for Christmas trees scheduled after the holidays for placement in local lakes and ponds.

In Nashville, there will be a curbside collection within city limits on December 30 and January 6. These will be put in a stock pile for people to use. The trees must be free of any ornaments or flocking.

Mt. Vernon residents can put out their Christmas trees curbside, and they will be picked up on their regular trash collection day.

If you live in Greenville, trees will be picked up starting the first week of the New Year for the next three weeks. Most of the trees go into their lakes for fish habitat. The remainder is burned with their regular brush.


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What Should I Do With The Christmas Tree?