There are many ways to recycle a Christmas tree, some of which can literally be found in our own backyard.
Of course, you can plant your Christmas tree if the root ball is intact. According to ThisOldHouse.com, dig a hole about 2 feet in diameter and 18 inches deep. As a rule of planting, the hole should be dug to the depth of the root ball and 1.5 to 2 times the diameter.
Even if you don’t have the roots, an entire Christmas tree makes a great backyard bird feeder. Stick the tree in the ground or place it in a corner of your patio and sprinkle some birdseed nearby, or tie up tallow, cranberries and popcorn, stale bread and dried and chopped fruit in bags in mesh. A variety of birds will come for food and stay for shelter.
If you don’t want to keep the tree, take it to a composting site so someone else can use it.
Great Bend Street Town Supervisor Tony Bronson is responsible for overseeing the town’s composting site located off Railroad Avenue and at the end of Pat Keenan Memorial Road and SW 10 Road. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Used Christmas trees are accepted at the property. They are placed to the side along the south fence.
They should be stripped of all adornments. Local sandbox owners will sort the trees, taking the cleanest ones without decorations and pouring them in to use them as habitats for the fish in their ponds. Great Bend Brit-Spaugh Zoo also chooses trees from this pile. Animals love the enrichment opportunities these trees provide, according to zoo supervisor and curator Ashley Burdick.
Residents of Ellinwood can also bring trees to that town’s composting site, located just north of town near the airport.
Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell said the Hoisington burn site, located southeast of the town at 150 NE 100 Road, also accepts trees and people are free to pick them up for their ponds or other projects.
At any site, be sure to strip the trees of ornaments, hooks, and garlands.
Here are some more tree recycling tips from Care2.com and a previous one. Grand bend grandstand Column written by Alicia Boor, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Officer for Barton County K State Research and Extension:
• Casting your Christmas tree in a pond is an easy way to improve fish habitat and fishing. To sink a tree, tie the base to a cinder block with a short, strong rope and throw it into it.
• Cut all the branches and use the trunk to mark out a garden. The trunk can also be strategically placed in your garden as a resting place for birds, squirrels, and other small critters.
• Place entire evergreen branches on perennial beds or rows of nurseries to protect them from winter frost and spring thaw. Branches provide the stable temperatures that most plants need. Or, just use the branches as post-Christmas house decorations.
• Chip the tree at a local garden center and use it as a ground cover or mulch.
• The trunk can be sawn into logs and burnt in your fireplace. Let dry a few weeks first. Just beware that most evergreen species tend to spark and pop more than hardwoods, as pockets of resin in the wood cause tiny explosions. It may be a treat for younger children, but for safety reasons keep an eye out for the fire when burning Christmas tree logs! And do not burn the branches, because they can send sparks.
• The trunk and branches can be used by woodworking enthusiasts to make any number of items, such as Christmas reindeer, birdhouses, candlesticks or paperweights.
• Use the needles to make aromatic potpourris and sachets to enjoy all year round. After removing the decorations, remove the branches of their needles, which will retain their spiciness indefinitely in brown paper bags.
• If it is allowed in your community, burn the branches and spread the ashes in your garden. The branches contain valuable nutrients and minerals that can enrich the soil and help produce better flowers and vegetables.