Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, Get The Hell Out Of My House

I've spent most of the day doing some redecorating. My main bookshelf was on its last legs- as it turned out, it collapsed into all its component boards as it was being hauled out to the curb- and so I had to go get a new one. That's taken up most of my day.

Perhaps you have a similar problem now. Perhaps your Christmas tree is still up; it's entirely possible. What to do with it? If you have an artificial tree, you just take it down and pack it up for next year. But if you have a live tree- one which is likely dumping needles by now and you really ought to be getting rid of if you haven't already- you have a more complicated dilemma.

First off, do not set the tree on fire. I know there's a log in there, but it is not a Yule log.

So now that I've taken away all your fun, what do you do? Probably, it's going to go to a yard-waste site and get converted into mulch or wood chips. But it doesn't necessarily have to be.

*It could get converted into a fishie house. This dropoff, for example, involves the Army Corps of Engineers collecting trees at Riverside Middle School in Evans, Georgia (you can still drop them off through tomorrow), and taking the collected trees to nearby Thurmond Lake. The trees will be bundled and submerged near fishing piers, which will attract fish, which will attract fishing. So more a fishie roach motel than anything. But hey.

Nearby, other trees will be used as brush piles. You just stack them up, leave them on the ground, and let animals use them as shelter and cover from predators.

*It could be used as flood control. Some felled trees in England and Wales are being placed along river banks, and then Christmas trees are used alongside them to filter out silt; this is supposed to help cut down on erosion and, in the meantime, keep fish eggs downstream from getting smothered and killed by dirt that would have eroded and landed on top of them.

*It can be replanted. It's possible if you still have the roots, and if you do, there are some places that could use an extra tree or two. For example, the Linton Zoo in Haverhill, England.

*They can be eaten. Another zoo, the Oakland Zoo, has elephants that consider Christmas trees to be really tasty. Oakland, however, generally only wants the trees that the tree farms were unable to sell over the course of the holidays. In Ottawa, elk and goats will eat the trees.

*They can help build beaches. Brazoria County, Texas, is using some of their Christmas trees to line the beaches. The trees attract and hold sand, and as the sand builds up, so do sand dunes. The dunes need restoration and upkeep, as they and the beaches are prone to erosion during hurricanes.

*You can trade it. Sevierville, Tennessee's Department of Parks and Recreation gave the first 100 people to drop off a tree a seedling for a new tree. It didn't have to be a pine, either.

*Okay, fine, burn the damn thing. Tomorrow is January 6, also known as Twelfth Night- as in, the twelfth night after Christmas, when the Three Kings are supposed to have made it to the birthplace of Christ. Although some observe it tonight. Some people believe that it's actually bad luck to leave your tree up after Twelfth Night, so... you know. Hurry up. As part of the observance, some people do in fact set fire to the tree.

*In East Village, Christmas tree set fire to you! Eh? Eh? Vhat a cahntry!

*Finally, you can suck it. If you've "flocked" your tree- if you sprayed it with that fake-snow stuff- most places don't want it for anything. It serves you right for using that garbage. Get a plastic tree next year if you're going to bust out the spray.

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