Tuesday, January 2, 2018 By: Ask A Master Gardener

Options for Old Christmas Trees After the Holidays

Options for Old Christmas Trees After the Holidays
Brian Jervis: Ask a Master Gardener
Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Q: Now that the holidays are winding down, what options do I have to deal with the disposal of my live-cut Christmas tree? Bob W., Tulsa
A: There are several options for disposal of your live-cut tree after the holidays. Some are more environmentally friendly than others. Most options involve removing all of the ornaments, tinsel and flocking (if possible) before use.
The best option is to trim the smaller branches from your tree and place them in the garden as mulch. They will decay over time and you will reap not only the benefits of mulch but also the nutrients that it adds back to the soil. These limbs also may be added to your compost pile as a source of green material to help balance the brown material such as leaves. Both green (nitrogen source) and brown (carbon source) are needed for the microbes that break down the material. The larger limbs and stems must be used elsewhere.
For the fisherman, sinking a bundle of evergreen trees creates a “hot-spot” or “magnet” in your favorite fishing hole. Crappies love them! The whole tree may be added, usually with others that are tied together, weighted with a concrete block and dropped into your favorite spot, if allowed.
Another option is to use the old tree as a temporary winter bird refuge, sanctuary and feeding station. The fronds of needles make a good temporary shelter from wind and predators. Treats such as peanut butter, suet and seed mixtures can be added as winter food for the birds.
The last option before placing the tree at curbside collection is to take it to the city of Tulsa’s Green Waste Site, located at 2100 N. 145th East Ave. This site is open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding city holidays. Only green waste is accepted, such as trees, limbs and leaves. All are shredded for mulch. Nonorganic material, such as Christmas decorations, lights,
The waste site produces huge amounts of mulch that is available to anyone. There may even be a machine to help load your truck. Wood that can be split for firewood is often obtainable, as well. There is no charge for these services for Tulsans. You must have a valid driver’s license or a utility bill showing a Tulsa address; otherwise, there is a small fee. It is possible to take a load of neighborhood trees to the site and perhaps come home with a load of free mulch and/or free firewood.
Lastly, the city of Tulsa curbside pickup service will collect trees. In December and January, residents may put trees at the curb on their primary collection day. All decorations must be removed and trees need to be cut into 4-foot sections to fit into the hopper of the refuse trucks. This collection is not for artificial trees, which need to go in the gray trash cart. The live trees are not actually recycled but, instead, are incinerated along with the other green waste collected in Tulsa.
Garden tips
  • Any green weed in dormant (brown) Bermuda lawns may now be sprayed with glyphosate, found in Roundup and many others. This will kill anything green but will not hurt the Bermuda. Glyphosate cannot be used on dormant zoysia grass or tall fescue lawns at any time.
  • Control overwintering insects on deciduous trees or shrubs with horticultural oil sprays in dormant concentrations applied when the temperature is above 40 degrees in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens.
  • Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light; set up an indoor fluorescent plant light.
  • Till garden plots without a cover crop to further expose garden pests to harsh winter conditions.
  • Visit the Master Gardeners office at the OSU Tulsa County Extension Building to obtain gardening fact sheets for the upcoming gardening season. The office is located at 4116 E. 15th St.


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