Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Tree Recycling by Donna Duffy

That lovely, fragrant cut tree you bought weeks ago has probably seen better days by now. It’s time to get it out of the house! Following are some options for recycling the tree once you’ve removed all of the decorations and tinsel. One caution: don’t burn the tree in your fireplace – the pitch content in the bark and needles can cause them to burst into flames from the intense heat.

Treat the birds!
Take that dry tree outside! You can prop it up against the house or leave the tree stand in place. Decorate it with popcorn, fresh cranberries, peanuts in the shell, pine cones with suet and birdseed; apples, rice cakes, or dried corn bundles. The birds will love the variety of treats – as will the squirrels. Use natural string, ribbon and raffia for hanging the edible decorations. The birds will use this material for nesting in the spring.

Use the Tree Boughs for Mulch
Recycle the boughs and use them as mulch in your own yard. Just cut the boughs off the trunk or larger branches and place them on your perennial beds. The boughs will protect dormant plants from drying out as fast as if they were fully exposed. They'll also keep the plants dormant longer because the soil temperature won't rise as quickly on sunny winter days. Be sure to remove the boughs as the plants start to emerge from dormancy. Then chop boughs into small pieces and add them to your compost pile to provide some acidity.

Recycle Your Whole Tree
Jefferson County has several sites where Christmas trees can be dropped off. This website will be helpful to find the location nearest to you:  Before you take your tree, find out if there are restrictions. Many sites will not accept flocked trees and all sites require thorough removal of decorations to protect both man and machine in the recycling process. The best rule of thumb is to take your tree to the recycler in the same condition that you would find it in the forest. Then go back and pick-up some mulch for your garden! Pine needles are great for protecting fall planted materials, and bark chips are perfect for informal walkways.

City of Golden Tree Recycling
The City of Golden will be accepting holiday trees for recycling beginning Sunday, Dec. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 23. Trees may be dropped off at any time between these dates at the Golden Recycle site, just west of Hwy 93 and north of Golden Gate Canyon Road. Please leave holiday trees at the south end of the site where a sign announcing the recycling will be visible.
Trees must be stripped of all ornaments, hardware, strings of lights and tinsel. Mulch from the chipping process will be available for free at the public pickup site on 11th Street, just west of the Clear Creek History Park. For further information please contact the City of Golden Forestry office at 303-384-8141.

Rooney Road Recycling Center
Tree recycling is available to residents of Arvada, Edgewater, Golden, Lakeside, Morrison, Mountain View, Wheat Ridge and unincorporated Jefferson County. The Center is located at 151 South Rooney Road. Winter hours are: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. On Saturdays, the Center is open from 8:00am till 4:00 pm. There is a charge of $1 for single trees. For more information, call 303-316-6262.