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

Williams Lake First Nation inks historic cannabis deal with B.C. government

The agreement paves the way for WLFN to sell cannabis to the government, and open stores across B.C.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Vehicle found “burnt to a crisp” off of Hwy 5

Update from Clearwater RCMP detachment

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Most Read