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Christmas Tree Roundup

A second life for Christmas trees

After you take your Christmas tree down, recycle it for a second life.
    In your own backyard, recycle your tree by placing it near a bird feeder. The tree’s branches shelter smaller birds. Throw unsalted, unbuttered popcorn into the branches as free-form birdfood. Branches also provide a good place to hang pinecones smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed.
    When it’s time to say goodbye to your tree, both Anne Arundel and Calvert counties will chip it — and natural garlands and wreaths — into mulch.
    In Anne Arundel County, Christmas trees are picked up on your regular day for recycling, yard waste and trash. In Calvert County, drop off Christmas trees at any convenience center or the Appeal Landfill thru January 31. There is no charge.
    In both counties, remove tree stands, bags, lights and all decorations. In Anne Arundel, cut big trees in half so they’ll fit in the truck.
    At convenience centers in either county, piles of chippings are yours for the taking. Use the chippings for paths, the Bay Gardener warns, not around plants, as fresh-chipped wood creates nitrogen stress on shallow-rooted plants. The microbes that digest the wood chips also extract the nitrogen from the soil. Since the microbes have a greater affinity for soil nitrogen than do roots, bottom leaves will yellow and fall during active growth.