HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Many of us enjoy having a real Christmas tree for the holidays, and when they are over, there are several eco-friendly ways to dispose of or recycle them.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the trees help the environment by sequestering carbon.
“As Christmas trees grow, they provide many of the same benefits our urban and natural forests do, such as clean air, soil stabilization, and carbon sequestration,” said Alison Baylis, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Urban Ecologist. “Further, buying a Christmas tree can help support a business or your local economy.”
The Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association said there are 175 Christmas tree farms in Texas producing over 200,000 trees annually. Unfortunately, many of these trees end up in a landfill.
“Even though trees are a renewable resource, we should opt to recycle or dispose of them in a way that helps the environment and gives our trees a second life,” said Baylis.
Real Christmas trees are biodegradable. Checking with your local waste management company, garden center, or conservation organization to find out if recycling, whether curbside pickup or a drop-off station, is available. Recycling trees is recommended over burning them to help prevent wildfire danger, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office news release.
Chipping trees into mulch can be used for a variety of needs around homes and yards. It can be placed around the base of trees and gardens as an insulator to help plants withstand cold temperatures and prevent soil erosion.
Pond and wildlife habitat
Placing trees in yards, nature landscapes, or bodies of water creates a habitat for wildlife. When trees are placed in bodies of water bodies, they increase the complexity of the aquatic habitat. If you do not have access to a pond or lake contact, local officials, to see if there is a suitable body of water in which you can properly dispose of your tree, said the A&M Forest Service.
To create a wildlife habitat, the forest service suggests setting your tree in your yard. Birds will use the old tree for shelter. Tie bird feed, orange slices, popcorn, and other bird-friendly treats to your tree and the birds will come.
Make sure to remove all decorations like ornaments, lights, and ribbon. Tree limbs are a good way to insulate garden plants, and some cities have free mulch available after the holidays.
If the tree is sprayed with flocking (fake snow), it should not be recycled, said the forest service.
For more information on how to recycle your Christmas tree, contact your Texas A&M Forest Service district office.