Extend the life of your Christmas tree: toss it in your backyard

In order to be more eco-friendly this year, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is recommending that before you chop your tree up and chuck it in the compost, consider keeping it in your backyard.

Birds find shelter there during winter months, says Nature Conservancy of Canada

Backyard conservation extends the life of a Christmas tree and is eco-friendly, says the Nature Conservancy of Canada. (Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press)

The days after the holidays are usually spent packing up the leftovers, putting away the Christmas decorations and then figuring out what do with the beautiful fir tree taking up space in your living room.

In order to be more eco-friendly this year, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is recommending that before you chop your tree up and chuck it in the compost, consider keeping it in your backyard.

"It's a small act of backyard conservation, and by extending the life of the Christmas tree, it's actually environmentally friendly in some ways," said Andrew Holland, spokesperson for the Nature Conservancy Canada.

Holland told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday that by placing it in your backyard, you can give the tree a second life as well as help wildlife.

"You're actually helping bird populations that try to hack our tough winter climate because that tree would provide some habitat for them over the winter months."

Holland says that by placing your tree against a fence or in the garden, it becomes a warm shelter for birds and squirrels. He adds that another way to help local animals beat winter is to continuously put a food source near the tree.

"We think about feeding birds and this type of thing other times of the year, but we don't think about it during the winter months," he said.

Not only that, but as the tree breaks down, it will become a nice fertilizer for your soil, Holland says.  

"Some people will drill a couple holes in the trunk of the tree to help it decompose quicker into the spring," he said.

"But the main goal is to keep this out of the landfills because a lot of Christmas trees end up going there. They catch fire, they generate methane gas and that doesn't help any of us."

More eco-friendly tips for your tree

If you don't want the tree in your backyard or you live in an apartment, the City of Calgary says you can cut it up and put it in your green cart for pickup. 

You can also drop it off at the following locations:

  • Auburn Bay Off-Leash Area — 52nd Street and Auburn Bay Drive S.E.
  • Bottomlands Park — St. George's Drive N.E. (soccer field parking lot).
  • Bowness — 7937 43rd Ave. N.W. (in lot behind building).
  • Braeside Park — 256 Brookpark Dr. S.W.
  • Confederation Park — 905 30th Ave. N.W. (east parking lot).
  • Huntington Hills Athletic Park — 7920 4th St. at Huntstrom Drive N.E.
  • IKEA — 8000 11th St. S.E. (northwest corner of parking lot behind store).
  • Marda Loop Communities Association — 3130 16th St. S.W.
  • North Glenmore Park — 6615 37th St. S.W. (Weaselhead parking lot).
  • Park 96 — 14660 Parkland Blvd. S.E.
  • Pop Davies/ Ogden Athletic Park — Ogden Road & Millican Road S.E.
  • Prairie Winds Park — 44th Street and 54th Avenue N.E. (south parking lot).
  • Sacramento Parks Depot — 10400 Sacramento Dr. S.W.
  • City landfill locations (free drop-off between Dec. 26 and Feb. 2).

    With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


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