Local officials offer tips on disposing Christmas trees

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA COUNTY — When the egg nog turns sour and the ugly sweaters go back in the closet, environmental officials say, the Christmas tree doesn’t necessarily need to be placed on the curb.

Rick Lucas, a district forester with the Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation districts, said there are many ways to re-use a natural tree, which can save space at a landfill, among other benefits.

“We feel it’s an opportunity, when people are repurposing Christmas trees, to reconnect to nature in a sense by looking beyond their personal use and placing it out in the environment, where it can provide a benefit in so many ways,” Lucas said on Wednesday.

Lucas said the most popular way to repurpose a Christmas tree is as a wildlife habitat. He suggested the tree could simply be stood on its end in order to provide a shelter for birds. Those who wish to give food to birds can easily tie a feeder to a branch, Lucas added.

Lucas said he has also heard of people stashing their trees along the edge of woodlands for a rabbit habitat, and placing them in ponds and lakes to help fish.

There are uses beyond helping animals, Lucas said.

“Some people will chip them and use them for compost, or just for mulch. I have seen people use them in the springtime for an area that is eroding — just throwing it on that area and anchoring it down so it stabilizes the soil where there may be runoff or wind damage,” Lucas said.

For those who really want to toss their trees, there are options.

Big Rapids Department of Public Works Director Heather Bowman said city trash crews will pick up trees left in the right-of-way during the first two weeks of January.

In Reed City, residents can put their used trees out by the street curbs from Jan. 2-12. The Reed City DPW will handle pickup at no cost.

Evart residents can place their trees curbside, with all decoration removed, any time after Christmas, DPW director Mark Wilson said. Trees from outside city limits will not be accepted.

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Posted by Tim Rath

Tim is the Pioneer's associate editor. He also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Veterans pages. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at trath@pioneergroup.com.

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