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Options available to dispose of real Christmas trees
new deh disposing of christmas trees main pic
Christmas trees are starting to find their way into the Great Bend Compost Site. The public can dispose of their cleaned trees there for free. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Christmas tree tips

• When removing the tree from the home, the best way to avoid a mess removing a tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores). Pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside to prevent the needles from making a mess on the floor. 

If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.

• Those who don’t want to haul their Christmas trees to the Great Bend Compost Site can get creative, notes With a little imagination, a Christmas tree can be used after the holidays are over.

Pond feed — sink pieces of the tree into a backyard pond as a refuge and feeding area for fish.

Decorate — cut pieces of this year’s tree to use as ornaments on next year’s. Thin slices of the trunk create a blank canvas that can be decorated and then strung with a piece of ribbon.

Bird house — stand a tree or a few of the larger branches in your yard as an organic feeder and sanctuary for birds. Place pinecones filled with peanut butter and birdseed in the branches along with strung popcorn and fresh orange slices. The birds will appreciate the food, and one can enjoy winter bird-watching.

Coasters — cut and treat discs from the tree trunk to use as coasters.

Mulch — chip up the trunk and branches to create mulch for a garden come spring. One can also place entire branches under trees and shrubs as temporary winter mulch.

Never burn a pine tree in your fireplace or stove. Evergreen trees contain high levels of flammable turpentine oils and may cause flare-ups and chimney fires.

 Adorned with twinkling lights and glimmering ornaments, real Christmas trees helped fill many homes with holiday cheer. But, now that the season has past, what can be done with those seasonal pines?

For local residents, the trees can be taken to the Great Bend Compost Site, said Great Bend Street Superintendent Mike Crawford. “This is free to the public.”

He does ask folks to follow a few simple guidelines. Be sure to remove all remove all lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, other non-organic decorative materials and other materials that are not part of the original tree. 

This includes tree stands also.

“We’ve found those metal stands that screw into the base of the trees,” Crawford said. Parts of these can fall off and ruin tires.

He also asks that the plastic bags some use to wrap their trees in for disposal be removed. There is a trash dumpster at the site for the refuse.

The site is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week and there is a large pile limbs in the center of the site where the trees can be dumped. Crews will add the trees to its burn pile as time allows.

There was a time when the city encouraged people to dump their trees into local lakes to serve as fish habitats. But, Crawford said that since the compost facility opened, officials no longer want residents to do this.

The Barton County Landfill will accept flocked trees. Officials there ask that all other trees be taken to the compost site.

For more information, call the Street Division of the Public Works Department at 620-793-4150.