Recycling is in spirit of the season
Written by The Times and Democrat   
Monday, 27 December 2004 15:30
Giving trees life after Christmas is in the spirit of the season. The Christmas tree is looking bare this morning. The clock is ticking on the tree's stay in the home. Some have already done so or will be taking down the tree today. Others will enjoy its glow through New Year's.

Whichever route you choose, we join Keep America Beautiful and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources in encouraging you to give your holiday tree life after Christmas.

You've heard it before. Recycling the tree makes sense. But you may not know all the alternatives. Instead of sending it to a landfill, consider sinking it, beaching it, mulching it or piling it up for wildlife.

In rural areas, discarded Christmas trees can be put to good use as erosion control or as brush piles to provide resting and escape cover for small animals. In addition to benefiting small game such as quail and rabbits, brush piles constructed of Christmas trees can help birds such as sparrows, towhees and wrens.

"We're getting to the time of year when the leaves are off, and evergreen cover is a pretty important part of a total wildlife management plan," said Lex Glover, wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Section of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. "Even though the needles of old Christmas trees will brown and fall off in two or three months, if you get enough trees piled up, they will make pretty good cover."

Brush piles are usually mound or teepee shaped, Glover said, with the largest material forming the base and layers of small limbs and branches added as filler. The base should consist of sturdy trunks or limbs to allow adequate escape entrances at ground level.

There's also the water alternative.

Fisheries biologists with the DNR Freshwater Fisheries Section use discarded Christmas trees to maintain many fish-attractor sites, which are clearly marked by buoys, at all major reservoirs in South Carolina. Many sites are being converted to permanent units that do not require yearly maintenance; however, the majority of fish attractors still require an occasional addition of brush and Christmas trees that provide an excellent source of material.

Once on the lake bottom, Christmas trees and other suitable materials provide a surface where small aquatic plants grow. These plants in turn attract aquatic organisms and small fish that are fed upon by larger fish.

 
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