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Many going green with Christmas trees removal

Disposing of a real Christmas tree can be done in an environmentally conscious way that is both easy and cost-free.

Here are a few “green” tips for those who don’t know quite what to do with their tree when it’s time to un-decorate. Since some of these tips require pre-holiday preparations, you might want to keep them handy for next year.

Avoid the mess: Trying to remove a tree from your home can be frustrating because of all the loose debris it creates. Much of this can be avoided by simply placing a plastic tree bag underneath the stand when setting the tree up. All you have to do is pull the bag around the tree and carry it outside.

Feed your fish: If you or a neighbor has a private pond, sunken trees make excellent reefs and feeding areas for fish.

For the birds: Used Christmas trees can also serve as a habitat for birds.

Just take all the decorations off (except maybe the strung popcorn, which can serve to attract birds). When the tree becomes brittle, just break it apart either by hand or with a chipper.

Mulch for your garden: Chipped pieces of tree branches may serve as mulch in your garden or flowerbed.

Second life: Some people decorate with rooted trees and then plant them in the yard after Christmas. Experts recommend digging the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft.

Safety first: Never use Christmas trees for firewood or burn them in a wood stove. Evergreens typically have a high content of flammable turpentine oils, raising the risk of a chimney fire.