This article was published originally on 12/19/2012
Thousands of cut Christmas trees will decorate the homes of Iowans this holiday season. After the holidays, recycle or dispose of your tree in a responsible manner. Several recycling/disposal options are presented below. (Before recycling your Christmas tree, remove all ornaments, lights, and tinsel.)
Place the tree in the yard or garden for use by birds and other wildlife. The branches provide shelter from strong winds and cold. Food can be supplied by hanging fruit slices, seed cakes, suet bags, or strings of cranberries or raisins on the tree's branches. You can also smear peanut butter and seeds in pine cones and hang them in the tree.
Prune off the tree's branches and place the boughs over perennials as a winter mulch. Chip the tree and use the chipped material as a mulch around trees, shrubs, or in perennial flower beds.
If you can't use the tree yourself, contact your Solid Waste Agency or sanitation service. Most communities have some type of Christmas tree disposal program. Some have central collection points, others collect the trees at curbside. Collected trees may be chipped into mulch and made available to local residents or used in city parks. Others may chipped and composted.
Conservation groups may be another option. Some hunting and fishing groups collect trees and use them to provide habitat for wildlife.
Don't burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Dry, evergreen branches literally explode when burned and could cause a house fire. Also, burning the tree may contribute to the buildup of creosote and lead to a flue fire.
For many, selecting and decorating the Christmas tree is one of the highlights of the holiday season, after the holidays recycle the tree and prolong its usefulness.