MDC suggests post-holiday uses for natural Christmas trees

News from the region
Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – A natural Christmas tree can provide benefits before, during, and after the holidays. Evergreen trees growing at tree farms provide oxygen, clean the air, serve as wildlife habitat, and green up the countryside. Then comes their starring role as a festive and fragrant holiday home centerpiece. After the holidays, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) suggests that natural Christmas trees can be put to new uses to benefit people and nature. Some of those are:

  • Some cities and private businesses have pick up or drop off arrangements for trees to be ground into mulch that’s useful in gardens or on trails. This beats a tree going into a landfill or being dumped in an inappropriate place. Recycling helps nature.
  • Christmas trees have been weighted and sunk in ponds and lakes as fish habitat. But the soft wood of pines and firs decays rapidly in the water. In ponds, this usage can hasten a loss of depth. Be cautious in using Christmas trees as underwater habitat.
  • Some people place the trees outside near bird feeders for habitat and wind breaks during winter. Or they place them in a corner of the yard where they can shelter wildlife such as rabbits.
  • For people who enjoy backyard fire pits or indoor fireplaces, this year’s Christmas tree can be next year’s kindling for fire starting. Break or cut off the limbs into small pieces to use as quick-lighting kindling. Store it next to the outdoor wood pile. Keep some cured pine kindling ready for use in a wood box or bucket.
  • For those who enjoy woodcraft, some enterprising woodworkers save the trunks of Christmas trees and use them to build outdoor benches and chairs.

Natural Christmas trees offer two more advantages. A mulched or outdoor habitat tree does not take up storage space all year long in a basement or attic. When you carry a newly harvested evergreen tree indoors for the 2022 holidays, it will smell fragrant and fresh as the piney woods.

For some interesting evergreen tree information compiled by Peg Craft, MDC digital media producer, visit