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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Life Cycle of a Christmas Tree


We enjoy a Real Christmas Tree at our house.  I have many reasons for loving my live tree chief above them is that I grew up with real trees.  Recently I was wondering if having a real tree was best for the environment. I got some good news. It is (source) While is true that the greenest Christmas Tree is the live tree in many parts of the country it just is not feasible to use a live tree because you can not plant them  when the ground is covered in snow or frozen.
If you have a Real Tree Christmas tree what to can you do with it once Christmas is over?
Depending on where you live you have multiple options.
Now I understand you may not have these options available to you but many towns and cities do have options for recycling your Christmas trees
  • Many cities have Tree Recycling Programs
  • Make a Bird Tree
  • Use it for a fish habitat in a lake or pond
  • If you live near the shore or a lake check to see if the local beaches use Christmas trees for soil erosion prevention.
  • Check to see if your city has a Burning of the Greens. Some cities collect the Christmas trees and burn them in a great bonfire, not only is this a safe way to have a bonfire, the local fire department gets some practice. 
As tempting as it may be do NOT use your Christmas tree as firewood. Christmas trees are evergreens, they have a lot of pitch and will burn hot, but they are still green and will smoke and worse still may start a chimney fire.  When I say we may use it as kindling the tree has been seasoning for almost a year before we cut it up.
At our house our has it’s usefulness after Christmas.   Since we get a real tree we wait until Gaudette Sunday to put it up.  Our tree will stay up until New Years Day, another family tradition.  When the tree has been stripped of all its glory it still lives on. We  decorate the tree for the birds, making bird seed ornaments, and popcorn garlands.  Now the tree can only last so long even outside. By the time the first signs of spring start coming around it is time to take down the birdseed tree. At that point our tree joins a brush pile, benefits of having 5 acres. While in the brush pile it becomes an important part of our little eco system here. The brush pile provides a safe haven for little animals and birds in the winter. The birds that winter over will nest and perch in the brush pile.  Now what do you do with a brush pile you ask? Well at some point in time it either gets cut up for kindling or burned in a brush fire.  Setting fires in pastures is a time honored practice here in Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest.  Ranchers and before them, local Indian Tribes practiced control periodic burns as a means to to rejuvenate the soil.

This post is linked up to Your Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy


Allison said...

do you keep the tree in your stand and put it outside? Or lay it on its side? I like all your suggestions. Thanks!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

When we put the tree outside I stick it in a hole, with a lab and a boy we always seem to have a hole somewhere in the yard. But using the tree stand or lying it on its side would work too.

Allison said...

Thanks! We might try that this year. We have a tiny yard, but I know just the spot.

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Thanks for the great info! Luckily, we can recycle our trees here.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

You are welcome Charise- and thanks for the share on facebook. One thing I left out is that some cities do a burning of the greens, usually on or near 12th night. We have never gone but you can drop off your tree even if you don't to the burning. They then use the ashes in the mulch.

Hannah Elise said...

We feed ours to the goats. :) They eat the needles and strip the bark down... and then it goes in the brush pile or down in the woods, depending on the amount of snow on the ground.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Hannah, I love that the goats get the Christmas tree. Why shouldn't they have some Christmas fun too?

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