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Christmas tree recycling growing trend

Consumers of a decade ago had few disposal options for real Christmas trees, but today they can be recycled into other natural products.

“Once a tree has been harvested and the Christmas season is over, the trunk and branches can be used as mulch for gardens, parks or in animal stalls,” said Michael May, who owns Lazy Acres Christmas Tree Farm in Chunky. “The mulch provides a protective barrier for plant roots, prevents weed growth and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.”

The green movement that is sweeping the country today has influenced more communities in Mississippi to start, revive or expand recycling programs. It also has caused more people to consider a natural approach to holiday decorations, which has put traditional, fresh-cut trees back in vogue.

May said recycling programs that chip discarded, fresh-cut trees for mulch are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Communities vary in their approach to organizing and collecting Christmas trees for recycling.

“There are communities that have drop-off points for consumers to bring their trees and others have curbside pick-up,” said Stephen Dicke, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Some trees are kept whole and used to stabilize beaches, shorelines and sediment, or sunk in bodies of water to provide fish habitat.”

Some Mississippi Christmas tree farms provide chipping or pick-up services for recycling trees. Other groups that often get involved with recycling efforts include garden centers, landscapers, city parks and recreation departments, solid-waste management organizations and civic clubs.

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