Make the Most of Holiday Trees

If you were unable to take up our suggestion of using a live tree in your holiday celebrations but, instead, employed a cut tree, do not toss the remnants on the curb. The best option is to put the tree in your landscape, at least temporarily, and offer a refuge for wildlife over the next few months. Many birds, small mammals and other critters will appreciate it and make great use of a fading conifer for protection from weather and predation.

Don't toss that tree on the curb - make it work for healthier ecosystems!

Don’t toss that tree on the curb – make it work for healthier ecosystems!

Better still, you can begin building a brushpile with your tree and the downed limbs or twigs that accumulate over the Winter. The brushpile breaks down over time enriching the soil around the area and you can simply keep it going for many years adding to the pile as material presents itself in your landscape. Just be sure to locate the tree and/or brushpile away from any structures so to avoid creating an infestation problem with insects and rodents.

If your property does not allow for building a brushpile, you can always dispose of the tree in a public forest (off trail) and allow it to decompose naturally – this adds to the health of the forest ecosystem and provides cover for wildlife there, as well. Another option is to check with a local tree farm to see if they wish to use your spent tree for compost. Better yet, check with a local wildlife rehabilitator who might be able to make use of the tree for bedding, housing or even food.

Although many municipalities offer roadside pickup of holiday trees and use them in creating a community mulch, it’s still a better environmental bet to place the tree back in the natural environment. Municipal mulching does use gas-powered equipment to shred the trees which adds polluting fumes and greenhouse gases to the atmosphere so should be the last option in holiday tree disposal.

Mimicking these natural processes is a great way to finish off your holiday festivities!

7 thoughts on “Make the Most of Holiday Trees

  1. Excellent point! I will definitely share this short but useful post.

    I’ve always been in conflict between buying a plastic tree and a real, sustainably grown tree. I feel as if buying a plastic tree has an impact but then, since I’d have it for a longer time, the impact would be spread over a longer period thus be lower the longer I keep it.
    What are your views on the matter?

    • Personally, I would never use an artificial tree. With a real tree, it contributed to the environment during is lifetime and another is planted in its place offsetting the impact of harvesting. An artificial is made of petroleum based products and other chemicals (consider the impact of mining, etc.) and requires additional energy to manufacture and package. The real tree is a much more sustainable option and, as my earlier blog post mentions, buying a live tree and planting it after the holidays is even a better bet! Thanks!

  2. Thank you for your reply!
    I’ll keep that in mind as soon as I have a house big enough for a Christmas tree 🙂

    Have a lovely 2015 and keep up the good blogging

  3. I do so agree with the many uses described. I would add one more; at the wildlife center where I volunteer, we use the trees by placing one each in every one of out outdoor aviaries. No matter what type or size of raptor, they all seem to like (I mean use) the trees as either cover, windbreak or, in the case of our screech owls, GREAT places to hide.

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