When to remove the Christmas tree and how to dispose of it


Have you taken down your Christmas tree yet? Chances are you haven't.

Whether you choose to decorate a natural or artificial tree This year, you're probably still admiring it in your living room and in no immediate hurry to part with the warm, magical feeling it provides. Of the approximately 94 million Of American households that display a Christmas tree, less than 20% take it down in December, according to surveys by online sources such as Bob Vila and architectural To digest.

Still, unless you live at the North Pole and work for a man named Kris Kringle, you'll probably want to take down your Christmas tree before the end of January. Most Americans do, according to Opendoor.com survey which found that 84% of respondents said they took down their Christmas decorations in January, and 51% targeted New Year's or later.

When exactly should you take down your Christmas tree? The answer depends largely on the type of tree you have, your religious beliefs, and where you live.

Below are guidelines for when to box up or throw away your Christmas tree, along with tree recycling and disposal options.

Christmas Trees: How about a Christmas tree house? 01:44

When should you take down your Christmas tree?

For those who have an artificial tree, the decision of when to remove it depends on your personal preferences. But there are traditional schedules you can follow to avoid procrastinating.

The Epiphany in January 6, is when many practicing Christians choose to remove their Christmas tree. He Holy day By commemorating the biblical story of the arrival of the Three Wise Men with gifts, it marks the end of the Christmas season.

Christmas tree removal.

Owners of real trees should also take safety concerns and local recycling dates into account when deciding when to remove their Christmas tree.

“A dead tree will have brown needles visible in patches on the tree and will break off easily when touched. Small branches will also be brittle and break when bent,” said Tim O'Connor, executive director of the National Tree Association. Christmas. in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

Dead trees should be removed quickly from the home, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The drier they become, the more flammable they are, the association warns, so natural Christmas trees should never be placed near fireplaces, stoves or candles.

“Christmas trees don't start fires,” O'Connor said. “Fires start with a heat source or an electrical spark, (so) make sure your tree is not exposed to a potential fire source.”

Although rare, Christmas tree fires can escalate quickly, the NFPA warns on its website.

Between 2017 and 2021, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 150 home Christmas tree fires, NFPA figures show. Of those 150 fires, two out of five involved some type of lighting or electrical component. Candles, a common fire starter, caused 8% of Christmas tree fires.

You can download a Christmas tree safety tip sheet from the NFPA. here.

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christmas tree recycling

When disposed of responsibly, a real Christmas tree can be a gift that keeps on giving.

The same evergreen tree that filled your home with Christmas cheer and pine scent is a renewable resource that can be turned into mulch either compostThe first being the most popular way to recycle Christmas trees.

Many cities and towns offer Christmas tree recycling services, including curbside pickup or delivery locations where trees and wreaths are placed in a wood chipper and turned into mulch. Be sure to remove every last wire hook and tinsel thread before participating in any tree recycling service.

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What are the best options for getting rid of the Christmas tree?

In addition to recycling and mulching, another use for old Christmas trees is in the backyard, where they can provide shelter for birds, squirrels, and other backyard creatures during the winter. Cut branches and branches can be used to protect plants from the cold. frost.

Some online sites recommend feeding your old Christmas tree to goats, pigs and other animals. Others caution However, he is against the idea, pointing out that the pesticides and chemicals commonly injected and sprayed on cultivated Christmas trees make them unsuitable for use as animal feed.

Old Christmas trees are also used as protective barriers against erosion. If you live in a coastal city, try doing a quick online search for local conservation organizations that might be interested in your old Christmas tree.

Avoid These Mistakes When Disposing of Your Christmas Tree

Most importantly, never burn a Christmas tree in an indoor fireplace or wood stove. “Sap still in the wood would create problems in a chimney or stove… chimney or vent where the sap could pool,” according to O'Connor.

You also shouldn't burn your Christmas tree in an outdoor bonfire, according to several commercial outdoor stove retailers. This is not only because Christmas trees contain a lot of sap and moisture and generate a lot of smoke, but also because the needles of coniferous trees contain nitrogen and terpenes, a substance that is highly toxic when burned.

Burning your old Christmas tree will also free up all the stored items. coal to the atmosphere, according to a 2020 study report on Christmas Trees from North Dakota State University.

What's the worst way to get rid of your Christmas tree? Leaving it on the curb for the garbage collector to pick up and probably throw in a landfill.

“Materials buried in landfills will decompose into methane, which is a more harmful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” Tom Kalb, an extension horticulturist at North Dakota State University, says in his report. report.

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