Used Christmas Trees

Ag Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent—Ag/NR
Smith County

 

What to do with used Christmas Trees?

Christmas trees are a renewable resource.  They are grown as a crop just like other farm raised crops such as vegetables.  When these trees are harvested during the Christmas season, growers plant trees annually to replace them.  While growing these trees provide oxygen to us and remove carbon dioxide and other gases from the air.  They also provide habitat for wildlife while in the field.

What to do with your used Christmas tree?  Recycle your tree and get some additional use from it.  Used Christmas trees make good fish habitat in farm ponds and area lakes.  The trees allow places for small fish to hide.  This is especially true in lakes and ponds with little cover already.

Small fish congregate in the tree using the needles and branches for cover.  While in the tree, the small fish feed on aquatic insects and invertebrates that may be congregating in these areas.  Game fish will then congregate looking for the small fish.  This may increase the number and frequency of bites from the fish you intend to catch.

It is recommended to vary the depths of these trees in the pond.  It may be necessary to pile several trees in one location making a bigger, denser habitat for fish species.  Setting trees in a line going from shallow to deeper water also helps create a desirable fish habitat as well.  Weights added to the tree may help place it in the proper location as the tree will settle or move as it sinks to the bottom.  Some have even put these used trees standing up in a pot or bucket, fill it full of concrete, and sink the tree standing up to give cover at various depths.

When placing these trees in a line in your pond, one suggestion is to tie a string to a limb attaching a Styrofoam block or other floating device to your tree.  Tie the string to a limb that may break easily as your tree settles.  You will see where it ends up by looking at how the floatation device sits on the water.  You can use this to place your trees in a line as you desire.  Once all your trees are in a line as you planned, you can pull the string removing the floatation device and string from the sunken tree.

Christmas trees can also be mulched or shredded and added to your compost or mulch pile.  It may be that several neighbors go together and shred their trees sharing the mulch.  Again, it is recommended to remove all decorations and to avoid shredding flocked trees.  As time goes by the wood chips or shavings from the shredded Christmas tree will breakdown in your flower beds adding organic matter into your soil.  This can also help with moisture retention and weed control in your flower beds as mulch aids with both.

The City of Tyler offers residents the opportunity to recycle used Christmas trees.  The trees should be undecorated and non-flocked real trees.   Keep Tyler Beautiful and the City of Tyler’s Solid Waste Department sets up two places in the city each year for people to bring their natural, un-flocked Christmas trees.  One location is in the parking lot at Fun Forest Park, 2000 Forest Avenue, and Golden Road Park, 2300 McDonald Road.   The trees at the parks are available for area fisherman to pick up and sink in nearby lakes to create fish habitats.  For more information on these locations contact Mr. Gary Lynch at the City of Tyler Solid Waste Department at (903)531-1348.

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