Thursday, December 29, 2005

Recycling Your Tree

Wondering what to do with your pine tree now that Christmas has passed. If you didn't buy a live tree, which can be planted in the yard (and shouldn't spend more than a week indoors), strip the ornaments and tinsel and consider one of these options.
  • Sinking it in a local waterway, or off your pier, if you have one, to serve as a habitat for subaquatic life. Fish love to gather in the branches, and use the structure of the tree for protection from predators, and the tree breaks down fairly quickly. [A reader makes a good point about this option, take special care that any submerged trees are not a hazard to navigation. And, actually, the choices below are probably far superior environmental options, for a variety of reasons.]

  • Place it in your yard, near a treeline or wooded area, if you have one. It can serve roughly the same purpose for birds and small mammals that the submerged tree does for fish. It can provide protection, and a place for creatures to make nests for the winter.

  • Chip or shred the tree and use it for mulch or in the compost pile in your own yard. Certain plants, such as azaleas, magnolias, and laurel like the acidity of soil created by amending it with pine needles.

  • Leave it out for the County to compost. Trees must be free of all ornamentation and tree bags. Only natural trees will be collected and trees over 4 feet tall must be cut in half.

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