Instead of discarding a live-cut Christmas tree, consider recycling the tree as the centerpiece of a wildlife-friendly brush pile. Place the tree in a desired location and stack limbs around it in a square arrangement, layering more brush until a desired height is reached.
Cover the top with additional brush to create a unique and valuable shelter for small animals.
Songbirds, including northern cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches, travel in and out of brush piles for food, nesting, and to escape predators. Small mammals, including cottontail rabbits and chipmunks, also use brush piles for shelter and raising young.
Recycled live-cut Christmas trees make great habitat for fish structure, on both public and private waterways. Christmas trees are gathered by Division of Wildlife fisheries staff from recycling and drop-off programs for use as fish habitat.
Trees are bundled together and weighted down so they sink to the lake’s bottom. Many species are attracted to this newly created habitat, including crappie, bluegill, and other panfish, as well as largemouth bass and saugeye.
Before disposing of a live-cut Christmas tree, remember to remove all trimmings, including tinsel, garland, lights and ornaments, as these can be harmful to the environment and wildlife. Be sure to have proper permission before discarding your tree on public or private property. Discarding trees without permission could result in a litter violation.