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)

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

Just Posted

Rob Kernachan editorial cartoon.
Editorial cartoonist focuses on Orange Shirt Day

Orange Shirt Day is the feature of Rob Kernachan’s contribution this week.… Continue reading

The grads of 2021 at Chemainus Secondary School will be resilient based on their experiences through COVID. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Making the most of grad events

Class of 2021 will carry resilience with them throughout their years based on COVID experience

COVID-19 has made the 2020-21 school year at Chemainus Secondary School interesting and challenging for graduates. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduates

Here’s the young men and women who are embarking on life’s next journey

Girls just wanna have fun. From left: Danielle Dela Cruz, Melanie Cheng, Hanna Starkie, Camille Storteboom, Rebecca Rhode, Sian Diewert and Brianne Pamminger at the Crofton seawalk. (Photo by Alana Starkie)
Prom night brings some semblance of normalcy for 2021 Chemainus grads

Being together at least provides class members with some comfort

Tom Millard served his community well for so many years with the Chemainus Fire Department. (Photo submitted)
Millard dedicated himself to community service

Long-time Chemainus Fire Department member and chief remembered for his commitment

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read