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Oh no, Christmas tree
Options for recycling live Christmas trees offered
new_deh_christmas tree recycle pic 1.jpg
One option for recycling live Christmas trees is to take them to the Great Bend Compost site. From there, some will wind up as fish habitat in sandpits or e shredded for landscaping and other purposes. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Those once splendid live Christmas trees that adorned living rooms this holiday season are starting to skeletonize before our very eyes. It is time for them to go.

Believe it or not, there is an occasion for this. Today marks Falling Needles Family Fest Day, a reminder for those who enjoyed a live tree to disrobe it of its trimmings and recycle it. 

There are several ways to recycle a Christmas tree, some of which are right in our own backyard, said City of Great Bend Street Superintendent James Giles. Among his duties is overseeing the city’s compost site located off Railroad Avenue and the end of Pat Keenan Memorial Road and SW 10 Road. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The trees are welcomed at the facility, he said. They are set off to the side along the south fence.

They should be stripped of all ornaments. Local sandpit owners will sort through the trees, taking the clean ones without decorations and flocking to use as fish habitats in their ponds. 

Giles said the remaining trees will be ground up by a Wichita company, at no charge to the city. The firm hauls shredded trees and limbs away and sells them for bio-fuels and landscaping.

As a side note, “we are trying to get away from burning,”he said. Since the city has struck this arrangement, there have been no limb burns at the site.

Here are some other tips

• Living Christmas trees that come with their roots intact can, of course, be planted. Pack the earth ball containing the roots in a bucket with sawdust, potting soil or other mulch. Keep the soil continually moist. Plant outdoors as soon as possible after Christmas.

• A whole Christmas tree makes an excellent bird feeder for a backyard. Stick the tree in the ground or leave it in its stand and attach suet, cranberry and popcorn strings, stale bread and dried, chopped fruit in mesh bags. In addition, chickadees, song sparrows, cardinals and a host of other birds come for the food and stay for the shelter.

• Cut off all the branches and use the trunk to edge a garden. The trunk can also be strategically placed in your garden as a resting spot for birds, squirrels and other little critters.  

• Place whole evergreen boughs on perennial beds or nursery rows to protect them from winter freezes and spring thaws. The boughs provide the steady temperatures that most plants need. Or, just use the boughs as post-Christmas house decorations.

• Have the tree chipped at a local garden center and use it for ground cover or mulch.  

• The trunk can be sawed into logs and burned in your fireplace. Note: Don’t burn the branches, since they can send off sparks.  

• Both trunk and branches can be used by woodworking hobbyists to make any number of items, such as Christmas reindeer, birdhouses, candlesticks or paperweights.  

• Use the needles to make aromatic potpourris and sachets to enjoy year-round. After removing the decorations, strip branches of their needles, which will retain their pungency indefinitely in brown paper bags.

• If you still have your Christmas tree out in the yard when warm weather appears, there’s still a use for it. If permitted in your community, burn the branches and spread the ashes in your garden. The branches contain valuable nutrients and minerals that can enrich the soil and help yield better flowers and vegetables.

What is Falling Needles Family Fest?


Falling Needles Family Fest Day was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy at Observe the day by getting the family together and cleaning up after the Christmas tree. Use #FallingNeedlesFamilyFest Day to post on social media. 

Other quirky holidays from include What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day on March 3, Make Up Your Own Holiday Day March 26, Yell “Fudge” at the Cobras in North America Day June 2, Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day July 27, Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Day Aug. 8, Wonderful Weirdos Day Sept. 9, and Humbug Day Dec. 21.