In this November 2018 photo, Christmas trees sit in a dirt lot at Silver Bells Tree Farm in Silverton, Ore., before being loaded onto a semi-truck headed for a Los Angeles tree lot. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Here’s a better fate for your Christmas tree

Drag it into your backyard to help nature and learn a bit about ecology

Canada’s Christmas tree farms produce over three million pine, spruce and fir trees each year — and most of them are simply abandoned at the curb soon after Santa makes his annual visit.

Now, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is suggesting that people should instead haul their tree to the backyard, to help nature and learn a bit about ecology.

VIDEO: How to keep your Christmas tree fresh

“There are better things we can do with our live Christmas tree when we’re done with it,” said Dan Kraus, senior conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Most municipalities have programs to chip and compost old Christmas trees, but Kraus said residents have an opportunity to make the most of their old tree.

“Put it out in the backyard and you’ll find that backyard birds start using it right away, especially if you have a birdfeeder. The birds will land in the tree before they go to the feeder. Some of them may even stay in it at night to get some shelter,” he said.

“You can decorate your old tree for birds and squirrels by doing things like hanging suet, or peanuts.”

He said that over winter, many of the needles will fall off, and by spring the tree will be ready to introduce to the soil.

Kraus suggests cutting off the branches in the spring and laying them on the ground around flowers.

“They’ll provide a little bit of shelter. They’ll help hold moisture in the soil, and then you can just put the tree trunk somewhere on the ground, even as a border for your garden area. That will start to provide some habitat right away for things like toads or various insects through the summer in your garden,” he said.

Kraus said the smaller you cut the branches, and the more they are in contact with the soil, the sooner they will begin to decompose.

“You are feeding the soil. By fall the smaller branches and twigs that have been in contact with the soil will have probably broken down quite a bit. They might not even be there anymore,” he said.

He said it could take a couple years for the trunk of the tree to completely decompose, but drilling holes in it will speed the process.

“That will encourage insects to burrow into the wood. It will provide habitat and make the trunk break down more quickly,” he said.

Kraus said, for those who don’t have a place on their property to recycle a tree, make sure your municipality composts them.

He said many places used to just put the trees in the landfill, which creates methane that’s not good for climate change.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Help sought in developing family practices in South Okanagan and Similkameen

An estimated 15,000 people in region do not have a family doctor

One person taken to hospital after Penticton car crash

Crash occurred at Martin Street and Nanaimo Avenue on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Penticton Vees extend streak to six wins as they enter home stretch

The final eight games of the season are all home games.

Catch Cabin Fever at the Cawston Community Hall on Feb. 15

The community fundraiser opens doors at 7:30 with music starting at 8 p.m.

Penticton breweries working together to put city on the map

How seven small craft breweries brought global recognition to Penticton.

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Animal lovers cautioned against feeding urban deer – even if they beg at the window

Even if the deer press their little faces against your kitchen window… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed near Golden for high avalanche danger

DriveBC does not give an estimation for reopening

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read