Be Green: Recycle Your Christmas Tree

recycle your Christmas treeAs the holiday festivities wind down and we prepare to begin a new year, don’t forget to recycle your Christmas tree.

Real Christmas trees are green in both the traditional and modern sense of the the word. The National Christmas Tree Association suggests some of the following tips on how to recycle your Christmas tree.

  • Curbside pick-up: Many communities will collect trees during their regular pick-up schedule during the first two weeks after the holiday. You’ll need to remove lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, stands and other non-organic materials. If your tree is larger than six feet, you’ll need to cut it in half.
  • Yard waste: If you miss the curbside pick-up schedule, you can cut your tree to fit loosely in your yard waste container on your scheduled pick-up day.
  • Bird feeders: Remove all of the decorations, tinsel and flocking and place the tree in your backyard or garden. Provide the birds with food by making pine cone bird feeders, hanging strings of popcorn and fresh fruit or using suet holders.
  • Mulch: Branches can be removed, chipped and used as mulch in the garden.
  • Line a garden bed: Saw off all the smaller branches then saw the trunk into two-inch-thick rounds.
  • Make coasters: This Old House recommends cutting thin slabs off the trunk, sanding them smooth and applying a thin coat of polyurethane to keep the sap off tables and glassware.

Useful tip for next year: To avoid a mess when removing the tree, place a plastic tree bag (available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up and hide it with a tree skirt. When it’s time to take the tree out, you can pull the bag up around the tree and carry it outside where you can remove the stand before recycling. It is better to sweep up any needles that scatter inside instead of vacuuming them which can clog the vacuum cleaner.

Note: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree can contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.

 

Tips to Avoid Holiday Pests

christmas-trees-for-sale-1303828861qovIt’s that time of year again! Many of us will spend the next few days pulling out our cherished holiday decorations from the attic or garage and visiting our favorite tree lots to look for the perfect fresh-cut fir, spruce or pine to fill our homes with the fragrance of the holidays and serve as the focal point for parties and family gatherings. Few of us think about the “holiday pests” that we may be bringing in to our homes.

Since live Christmas trees are grown in a natural setting, we may end up bringing in a little more nature than we anticipated. There are several kinds of insects that spend the winter in these types of trees. Once you bring the tree into your nice warm home, the insects behave as though spring has arrived and they may become active again.

The two pests most commonly found on fresh-cut trees are Cinara aphids and spiders. Often, eggs that would have remained dormant through the winter hatch when the tree is brought into your home. These newly hatched insects and spiderlings are very small (approximately 1/16th inch) and can go unnoticed. Although they can be a nuisance, they are generally harmless and usually wander a very short distance before drying out and dying.

Here are a few tips to avoiding “holiday hitchhikers” on your Christmas tree:

  • Inspect the tree for signs of pests, looking along the tips of branches and deep within the tree.
  • Shake your tree before bringing it into your home. Many tree lots have mechanical shakers.
  • Vacuum up pests using an attachment without a beater bar. (Crushing the bugs can create a stain.)
  • Trees can be sprayed off with water and allowed to dry outdoors.
  • If the tree is badly infested, return the tree for another one.
  • Don’t use insecticide on your tree. The low humidity in most homes will usually kill these invaders in a short time.

Another source of holiday pests are the decorations that have been stored in attics, basements, garages and closets. Here are a few tips to follow as you pull out your decorations:

  • Open your boxes outside before bringing anything indoors.
  • Remove all the contents outside and inspect them for pests before placing them around your home.
  • If you find boxes with chewed openings, open them with caution – this could be a sign of rodent activity.
  • When putting your decorations away, use tight sealing containers rather than cardboard boxes. They are more difficult for pests to gain access inside.

If you do discover a pest problem, contact Massey Services for a free pest inspection so you don’t have any unwanted guests this holiday season!

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Real Christmas trees are green in both the traditional and modern sense of the the word. The National Christmas Tree Association suggests the following tips on how to recycle your Christmas tree.

  • Curbside pick-up: Many communities will collect trees during their regular pick-up schedule during the first two weeks after the holiday. You’ll need to remove lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, stands and other non-organic materials. If your tree is larger than six feet, you’ll need to cut it in half.
  • Yard waste: If you miss the curbside pick-up schedule, you can cut your tree to fit loosely in your yard waste container on your scheduled pick-up day.
  • Bird feeders: Remove all of the decorations, tinsel and flocking and place the tree in your backyard or garden. Provide the birds with food by making pine cone bird feeders, hanging strings of popcorn and fresh fruit or using suet holders.
  • Mulch: Branches can be removed, chipped and used as mulch in the garden.

Useful tip for next year: To avoid a mess when removing the tree, place a plastic tree bag (available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up and hide it with a tree skirt. When it’s time to take the tree out, you can pull the bag up around the tree and carry it outside where you can remove the stand before recycling. It is better to sweep up any needles that scatter inside instead of vacuuming them which can clog the vacuum cleaner.

Note: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree can contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.

 

Decking the Halls Can Bring Unwelcome Holiday Pests

Once we recover from the effects of our Thanksgiving feast, many of us will haul out the decorations and head to our favorite tree lot for an aromatic, fresh-cut fir, spruce or pine that will serve as the focal point for holiday parties and family gatherings for the next few weeks.

Since these trees are grown in a natural setting, we may end up bringing in a little more nature than we anticipated. There are several kinds of insects that spend the winter in these types of trees. Once you bring the tree into your home, the insects behave as though spring has come and become active again.

The two pests most commonly found on fresh-cut trees are aphids and spiders. Often, eggs that would have remained dormant through the winter hatch when the tree is brought into your nice warm home. These newly hatched insects and spiderlings are very small (approximately 1/16th inch) and can go unnoticed. Although they can be a nuisance, they are generally harmless and usually wander a very short distance before drying out and dying.

Here are a few tips to avoiding “holiday hitchhikers” on your Christmas tree:

  • Shake your tree before bringing it into your home. Many lots have mechanical shakers.
  • Inspect the tree and remove bird nests and egg sacs if not dislodged by shaking.
  • Vacuum up pests using an attachment without a beater bar. (Crushing the bugs can create a stain.)
  • If the tree is badly infested, return the tree for another one.
  • Don’t use insecticide on your tree. The low humidity in most homes will usually kill these invaders in a short time.

Another source of holiday pests are the decorations that have been stored in attics, basements, garages and closets. Here are a few tips to follow as you pull out your decorations:

  • Open your boxes outside before bringing anything indoors.
  • Remove all the contents outside and inspect them for pests before placing them around your home.
  • If you find boxes with chewed openings, open them with caution – this could be a sign of rodent activity.
  • When putting your decorations away, use tight sealing containers rather than cardboard boxes. They’re more difficult for pests to gain access inside.

If you do discover a pest problem, contact Massey Services for a free pest inspection so you don’t have any unwanted guests this holiday season!