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CARROLLTON, Mo.- The holiday season is soon coming to an end and that means it’ll be time to take down the decorations along with disposing of those pesky holiday trees.

Some general things to remember about managing a tree after the holidays:

  • Remove all trimmings–most are reusable and could contaminate the environment or harm wildlife if left on
  • Do not burn a tree in wood stoves or fireplaces if it is still green– the resins could cause a flue fire
  • Always dispose of the tree in an environmentally safe manner

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has a few suggestions to help with tree disposal after the holiday season. Mulching your holiday trees are a good way to recycle the festive decoration. Mulched holiday trees reduce weeds, help regulate soil temperature and increase moisture retention. Many cities and towns offer tree-chipping services after the holidays, so checking with your local public works or sanitation department is an opportunity to learn more.

Holiday trees can also be recycled as a fish habitat in a private lake or fishing pond. To to make the tree into a fish habitat, secure a cement block to the stump end of the tree with quarter-inch nylon rope. Ideally, the top of the tree will be four to six feet below the surface. If you do not have access to your own lake or pond, contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to find a collection location near you.

Decorating a tree as a food source is another way citizens can also help their friendly wildlife neighbors. After removing all the decorations from the tree, redecorate the tree with food items that can be eaten by birds, chipmunks and squirrels. Items include popcorn, cranberries or pine cones covered in peanut butter. Citizens can also hang apple rings or create a bowl from an orange that has had juice and pulp removed and filled with unshelled peanuts.

A reused holiday tree can be a gift that keeps giving to the environment through proper management. More tips are available on the department’s website at dnr.mo.gov/pubs/pub184.pdf