Sunday, January 6, 2019 By: Ask A Master Gardener

Options For Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas Tree Disposal
Allen Robinson: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Q: Now that the holidays are winding down, what options do I have for disposing of my live-cut Christmas tree? William L., Tulsa
A: There are several options for disposal of your live-cut tree after the holidays. However, some are more environmentally friendly than others. Most options involve removing all of the ornaments, tinsel and flocking (if possible) before disposal.
The best option is to trim the smaller branches from your tree and place in the garden as mulch. They will decay over time and you will not only reap 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 dead leaves. Green materials (for the nitrogen source) and brown materials (for the carbon source) are needed for the microbes that break down the composted 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 and 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 Mulch Site, 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, grass clippings and leaves. All are shredded for mulch. Non-organic material, such as Christmas decorations, lights, tinsel and flocking is not allowed.
The waste site produces huge amounts of mulch, which is available to anyone. There may even be a machine to help load your truck. Wood that can be cut/split for firewood is available in a firewood cutting area, but you must bring your own tools. There is no charge for these services for Tulsa residents. You must have a valid driver’s license or a utility bill showing a Tulsa address; otherwise, there is a small fee. Think about this ... you could 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 the 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 other products. This will kill anything green, but will not hurt the Bermuda. Note that 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. Apply when the temperature is above 40°F in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens.
 Ornamental perennial grasses, such as pampas grass, may be cut back to 4-6 inches anytime in winter. However, because of winter attractiveness, most gardeners choose to wait until early spring to cut them back. All the dead tops of these grasses should be removed by early spring, allowing sun to get to new growth.
 Liriope or "monkey grass" — which is not a grass, but in the lily family — stays green year-round. It benefits from trimming to 2-3 inches before new growth begins in spring. Liriope and all ornamental grasses will benefit from nitrogen fertilizer in the spring when pruned.
 Prune fruit trees in January, February and March. OSU has a good fact sheet on pruning fruit trees: "Annual Pruning of Fruit Trees".


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