By: Noelle Johnson at Houzz.com
Many municipalities haul off Christmas trees or offer drop-off sites during the weeks following Christmas. The trees are put through a chipper, which leaves behind a nice wood mulch that is used in parks and around government buildings. Some cities even offer to chip trees for free and let the tree bringers take the mulch home to use in their own gardens.
2. Fuel for power plants. In some regions Christmas trees may be used as a fuel source once they have been chipped. The chips are burned, helping to provide fuel for power plants.
4. Erosion control. Sometimes leaving Christmas trees intact (minus lights, decorations and tinsel) benefits the environment by helping to control soil erosion. In coastal communities where the beaches have experienced severe erosion during hurricanes, Christmas trees are used to prevent sand dunes from eroding and, in many cases, to help create new sand dunes as the sand gradually covers them up. Whole Christmas trees are used along the coastal areas of the South and New Jersey to protect coastal marshes that are susceptible to erosion and to help retard the movement of saltwater into freshwater areas along the coast.
6. Fish habitat. When completely submerged, whole Christmas trees provide protection for small fish and sites where fish can lay eggs; they can last about eight years in the water. Some municipalities create fish-friendly habitats with Christmas trees, but you should ask permission from your local municipality before dumping your own tree into the nearest lake or creek; too many submerged trees can cause problems.
8. Protection for delicate plants. Instead of chipping your tree, you can remove its branches and place them around and over your delicate perennials and shrubs to provide protection from heavy snowdrifts. As the branches decompose, they will add nutrients to your soil.
9. Additions to the compost heap. The smaller branches of Christmas trees are suitable for adding to your mulch pile. Simply use your hand pruners to cut off 6-inch sections and throw them in the compost pile.
This year save your tree from the sad fate of ending up in a landfill when there are so many other ways it can provide benefits, even after the ornaments and tinsel have been taken down. Visit theNational Christmas Tree Association’s site to learn more about regional recycling programs and discover other recycling options for your Christmas tree.