The Christmas tree has brought you joy and light all December. Now, however, the cat is coughing up tinsel, and needles are scattered on the carpet like pointy, organic New Year‘s confetti.
The days of the festive indoor shrub are numbered — and, like most New Brunswickers, you want to dispose of it as easily and cheaply as possible.
From crafty recycling to composting to chucking it into the bins provided by municipal tree disposal programs in Saint John, Moncton, and Fredericton, here‘s how and when to get rid of your tree without wasting landfill space.
Note: this list applies to natural trees only: not wreaths, artificial trees, flocked trees, or anything that‘s not a tree that grew in the woods. No matter what you‘re doing, remember to remove all decorations, including ornament hooks and little tinsel bits, which can cause all kinds of problems.
Burning your old tree is fine if done properly. While the needles dry out quickly, it‘ll usually take a few months before the log is dry enough to burn. Resins in a green Christmas tree can lead to a flue fire in the fireplace or wood stove. Be careful with branches, too. While the needles make a cool popcorn-popping sound-effect, they can also send off sparks.
Long boughs trimmed from the tree and laid over garden beds can be used to insulate perennials from late spring frost. Green thumbs can also make their own mulch by removing the branches and shaking off the dead needles, which are mould-resistant and slow to decompose.
3. Wildlife conservation
Submerging a pesticide-free tree in your fishing pond can help the underwater ecosystem. Smaller fish species feed on the aquatic insects the tree attracts and give them shelter from larger predators. To submerge a tree, securely tie a cement block to the stump end with nylon rope and push it off the side of a boat.
No boat? Wait until the water is thoroughly frozen, then drag the tree out so that it sinks when the ice melts. The water should be deep enough to cover the tree by four to six feet. For those who don‘t have a handy pond, an old Christmas tree in the backyard hung with bird feeders or suet balls will encourage little animals friends to shelter there.
It‘s possible to cut an old tree into coasters with a bandsaw or hacksaw, although it‘s necessary to sand down the surfaces, stain and seal them to prevent sap leaks. More advanced woodworkers can try carving candlesticks or paperweights.
Delimb the tree. Cut up the trunk and branches into manageable blocks (according to the City of Saint John‘s guidelines, no longer than four feet and smaller than the diameter of a wrist). Those blocks and branches can then be placed in the compost cart for removal on the regular garbage and compost collection day.
Tired? Hungover? Just not feeling it? Here‘s where to drop off your tree and let someone else deal with it in Saint John, Moncton or Fredericton.
Trees can be dropped off from Jan 1. to Jan. 15 at:
- Charles Gorman Arena: 80 University Ave.
- Crescent Valley: Between 30 and 38 Taylor Ave.
- Peter Murray Arena: 711 Dever Rd.
- Hilton Belyea Arena: 390 Lowell St.
- Forest Hills Ball Field: 651 Westmorland Rd.
- Old Sugar Refinery: 330 Charlotte St.
Drop off trees until Jan. 15, or set them out at the curb during the week of Jan. 8 to 12. Drop-off p;oints are:
- Crossman Community Centre-Kay Arena.
- Ball field off Crowley Farm Road.
- Former Dud James Arena on Limerick Street.
- Moncton Coliseum.
- Mapleton Park, Gorge Road entrance.
- Moncton Wesleyan Church, St. George Blvd.
- Fairview Knoll playground, south end of Fairview Knoll Drive.
The Southeast Eco360 facility on Berry Mills Road is also offering free drop-off until Jan. 13. For info, call 877-1040
Trees dropped off between Dec. 26 and Jan. 15 at the sites below are chipped and recycled for compost.
- Royal Road Park: Park parking lot adjacent to the Royal Road Fire Station.
- Fulton Heights: School parking lot off main entrance to Nashwaaksis Middle School.
- Devon: York Arena parking lot.
- Marysville Heritage Centre Facility: Parking lot off McGloin Street.
- Kimble Drive: Vacant lot opposite the Fredericton Community Garden at 150 Kimble Dr.
- Odell Park: Park parking lot in corner of the lot off Waggoners Lane.
- Queens Square Park: Park parking lot adjacent to pool building off Aberdeen Street.
- Angelview Park: Parking lot off Woodstock Road.