Recycling Your Christmas Tree
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Real Christmas Trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch or a number of other purposes.
Depending on where you live, many communities offer curb side pick up or drop off sites where trees can be left to be recycled into mulch. Check with your local municipalities public works department for specific requirements. Pender County residents with an approved sticker to utilize the county convenience centers can drop off trees at the Hampstead, Rocky Point, and Burgaw locations normally from December 26 through January. If you have a chipper, you can remove the branches and make your own mulch for use in your garden.
When submerged in private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish. If you know a pond owner, you may contact them and offer your used trees to them for this purpose. While this sounds simple, there are some considerations that need to be addressed. First, be sure that all the ornaments and tinsel are removed. Next, you need to figure out how to weigh down the tree. Otherwise, it will simply float near the surface. The use of a concrete block attached to the base of the tree usually works. Finally, you will need to find water deep enough to completely submerge the tree in its upright condition. This will provide the maximum habitat value. This usually means using a boat to get out into deep water.
Soil Erosion Barriers
Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barrers. In Pender County, the town of Topsail Beach collects trees to help stabilize dunes. Christmas trees are placed along the base of the dunes to capture sand. This helps build and stabilize the dunes which protect our beaches from erosion and storm surge. During the first few weeks of January, trees can be dropped off at the corner of Davis and Anderson Street. Some of the trees that are dropped off at the convenience centers are also used for this purpose.
Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.