Recycle the Christmas tree, or give it to the birds

Did you have a fresh cut natural Christmas tree to highlight the holiday season, and are you wondering how to recycle it? Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes.

Before recycling, carefully remove from your tree all ornaments, lights, garland, and any other Christmas tree decorations.

Here are some recycling options and tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays.

Between now and Jan. 31, the Wood County Park District will recycle Christmas trees for free at these five locations:

W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: 29530 White Road, Perrysburg

Otsego Park: 20000 W. River Road, Bowling Green

Park District Headquarters: 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green

William Henry Harrison Park: 644 Bierley Ave., Pemberville

North Baltimore terminus of the Slippery Elm Trail: 218 E. Broadway St.

Bowling Green’s tree collection begins today. Place trees curbside for collection.

Pam Bennett and Marne Titchenell, educators with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences of the Ohio State University, share their ideas for enhancing wildlife in your landscape by using your tree.

Place the tree outside around the bird feeder until spring. Watch as the birds flock to it. Birds attracted may include cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, titmice and blue jays. To attract other species of birds, decorate your tree all over again with bird-friendly treats—peanut butter- and bird seed-covered pinecones, garlands of dried fruit and nuts, and suet ornaments. The tree will provide both tasty food and cover for overwintering songbirds.

You might also consider spreading a bit of seed below the tree to provide food for ground-foraging birds such as mourning doves and dark-eyed juncos. They will appreciate finding food under the cover of the Christmas tree.

When spring comes, cut off the main branches and throw them in the compost pile. If you have a chipper shredder, you can run the tree through this to increase the speed of composting. You can use the trunk in the perennial gardens as a border.

There are many options available for recycling your real Christmas tree. Due to the high sap content and heavy sparks, never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.

One final note, be eco-friendly, and keep your tree out of the landfill. Our environment will thank you for it.