With the holiday season almost over, it will soon be time to take down the decorations and dispose of the Christmas tree. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has a few suggestions to help with tree disposal after the holiday season.
Holiday trees can be used as a fish habitat in a private lake or fishing pond. To make the tree into a fish habitat, the MoDNR suggests securing a cement block to the stump end of the tree with quarter-inch nylon rope. Ideally, the top of the tree will be four to six feet below the surface. If citizens do not have access to their own lake or pond, call the Missouri Department of Conservation to find a collection location near you.
Residents can also help wildlife creatures by decorating a tree as a food source. After removing all of the decorations from the tree, the DNR says to redecorate the tree with food items that can be eaten by birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. These can include popcorn, cranberries or pine cones covered in peanut butter. Citizens can also hang apple rings or create a bowl from an orange that has had the juice and pulp removed and filled with unshelled peanuts.

Trees will need to be secured as not to blow over with strong gusts of wind. The DNR says the best method for securing the tree is to dig a hole and place the trunk of the tree in it. The tree can also be staked for extra security. Not only will the tree provide a tasty snack when food is scarce, it will also serve as a haven from winter winds.

Some general things to remember about managing a tree after the holidays include:

- Remove all of the trimmings -- most are reusable and could contaminate the environment or harm wildlife if left on.

- Do not burn a tree in wood stoves or fireplaces if it is still green -- the resins could cause a flue fire.

- Always dispose of the tree in an environmentally safe manner. 

More tips can be downloaded at the MoDNR's website, by clicking here.

Randy Kirby