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Recycle your live tree

Thousands of live Christmas trees are sold each year and with the holidays wrapped up, it will be time to take down the decorations and dispose of the tree.

There aren’t many areas locally that will recycle the live trees, but the city of Farmington is offering a location where the trees can be dropped off.

City of Farmington Facility Maintenance Director Bud Norman said live trees can be dropped off on the west parking lot at Hager Lake on Progress Drive in the west-side industrial park. A sign is in place marking the drop-off location.

“We are collecting the trees for recycling and will sink some in the lake,” said Norman. “The drop-off is near the lake and if we decide, we will use them there or if we don’t, we will transport them to wherever we decide.”

Norman said that has been the drop-off spot for several years now. He explained the trees can make a good habitat for the lakes, so long as they are anchored properly.

“That is kind of the problem, you have to make sure they are anchored properly or tied up well,” said Norman. “Then they need to be situated in the right place, so fishing can still take place from the bank.”

If they can’t use all of the trees in the lake, Norman said they will either bring their mulching machine over to the trees to mulch them up or they will take them out to the city farm where yard waste including leaves and limbs are placed.

“They need to be clean before they are dropped off out there,” said Norman. “No decorations, tinsel or anything on them. They need to be cleaned.”

He expects the city will collect the discarded trees through the end of January.

The city of Desloge is also recycling Christmas trees and they can be dropped off at the dog pound off Oak Street, like in years past.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has a few suggestions to help with tree disposal after the holiday season. They suggest trees may be used as a fish habitat in your private lake or fishing pond.

To make the tree into a fish habitat, secure a cement block to the stump end of the tree with quarter-inch nylon rope. Ideally, the top of the tree will be four to six feet below the surface. If citizens do not have access to their own lake or pond, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation to find a collection location nearby.

Everyone can also help their friendly wildlife neighbors by decorating a tree as a food source. After removing all of the decorations from the tree, redecorate the tree with food items that can be eaten by birds, chipmunks and squirrels. These can include popcorn, cranberries or pine cones covered in peanut butter. Citizens can also hang apple rings or create a bowl from an orange that has had the juice and pulp removed and filled with unshelled peanuts.

The tree will need to be secured so that it will not blow over with the first strong gust of wind. The best method for securing the tree is to dig a hole and place the trunk of the tree in it. The tree can also be staked for extra security. Not only will the tree provide a tasty snack when food is scarce, it will also serve as a haven from the harsh winter winds.

Through proper management, a reused holiday tree may be a gift that keeps giving to the environment for years to come. More tips are available on the department’s website at

For more information on treecycling, contact the department’s Solid Waste Management Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-5401, or visit the department’s website at

Some general things to remember about managing a tree after the holidays:

• Remove all of the trimmings — most are reusable and could contaminate the environment or harm wildlife if left on

• Do not burn a tree in wood stoves or fireplaces if it is still green — the resins could cause a flue fire

• Always dispose of the tree in an environmentally safe manner

It's not recommended to dump live Christmas trees alongside the road after the holidays. There is a collection site in Farmington to recycle your tree and there are other ways it can be put to use in the backyard.

It’s not recommended to dump live Christmas trees alongside the road after the holidays. There is a collection site in Farmington to recycle your tree and there are other ways it can be put to use in the backyard.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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