Community Ag Alliance: Make a lasting gift of your Christmas tree | SteamboatToday.com

Community Ag Alliance: Make a lasting gift of your Christmas tree

Community Ag Alliance

The New Year is upon us, and it brings with it the need to pack up last year and put it away … or in the very least, put away last year's Christmas lights and decorations.  Time as well to undress the twinkling natural evergreen tree and throw it away.

Wait a minute. Just throw it away?  Throwing it out seems like an insult for such a special piece of Christmas, a waste of a living tree needed for only a short period of time.  Surely something else can be done with it to prolong the gift of its life?

There are, in fact, many ways in which your Christmas tree can be put to good use once the Christmas season is over — many of which can benefit you directly.

• Recycle your Christmas tree with the city of Steamboat Springs

Drop-off natural Christmas trees at the northwest corner of the Howelsen Ice Arena parking lot and the city will create mulch with it that will be available to residents in the spring on a first-come, first-served basis.  Christmas tree mulch will also be used in city parks during the coming year.  Drop off is available seven days per week from sunrise to sunset until Jan. 31.  Remove all tinsel, decorations, lights, etc.  Wreaths will not be accepted.     

• Mulch it yourself

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Put your tree to work in your own yard as mulch.  Remove your branches and shake off the dead needles around your landscaping.  They won't collect mold and will decompose slowly.

• Create Habitat

If you have a lake or pond on your property, consider dumping your tree into it to provide a natural and decomposing habitat for fish.

• Make Firewood

Chop up your tree and use it as fuel for your fireplace or firepit. Give it to a neighbor that has a wood-burning stove or pit if you don't.

• Get Crafty

Create coasters and trivets out of your Christmas tree trunk.  Using a bandsaw or hacksaw, cut the trunk into thin slices or "cookies." Sand down the surface, then stain and seal them before using to prevent sap from leaking.  These make wonderful gifts.

• Chip it

Rent a wood chipper and use the chips for your landscaping.  Even better idea: Invite your neighbors and share the cost and chips.

So, instead of bagging your natural Christmas tree and sticking it out on the corner on trash day, recycle it and make the gift of your tree last.

Kristin Mortenson is the administrative assistant for the Colorado State Forest Service, Steamboat Springs District Office.