Be a good environmentalist. Dump your tree

(Photo courtesy of the Nature Conservancy of Canada)

It was beautiful for the Christmas holidays, but now it’s just taking up space in your living room. What should you do with your Christmas tree? Dump it.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada hopes you will dump it in your own yard and not some ditch because even though you may not appreciate it anymore, there’s a lot of wildlife that will.

After removing all the tinsel and decorative bulbs, just leave the tree in your backyard. Anywhere will work. Prop it against another tree or a fence. In the garden works too.

If the family wants, decorate it with pinecones filled with peanut butter and strings of peanuts and suet. You’ll be decorating it for families of birds to enjoy.

© Can Stock Photo / RWKClark

© Can Stock Photo / RWKClark

“Evergreens offer a safe place for birds to rest while they visit your feeder,” said Samantha Knight, a national conservation science manager with the conservancy.

She said it’s not only for the birds, but your garden will love it too.

“If you leave your tree in your garden over the summer, it will continue to provide a habitat for wildlife and improve your soil as it decomposes,” she added.

By spring, the tree will have lost most of its needles and resemble a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, a reminder of how much fun you had over the holidays. Just cut the tree branches and lay them where spring flowers emerge.

The trunk will crush your new sprouts, so place it in the soil, not on your flowers. Toads will want to seek shelter there, and insects, including pollinators, will burrow into the wood.

“By fall, the branches and truck will begin to decompose and turn into soil,” said Knight. “Many of our Christmas trees, particularly spruce and balsam fir, have a very low rot resistance and break down quickly when exposed to the elements.”

Drilling holes in the truck will speed up the process, and the more contact it has with the soil, the faster it will decompose.

“Our backyards are ecosystems of their own and provide an opportunity to learn about forest ecology,” explained Knight. “By leaving our Christmas tree in our backyard, we can understand its life cycle and observe its impact on our backyard biodiversity.”

Of course, if you don’t want to decompose your tree in the yard, you could also take it to a municipal drop-off site, where it will be chipped up and used as trail bedding. Some communities put them along shorelines to help prevent shoreline erosion, while others use them for compost.