Putting trees to good use

Published 9:25 pm Monday, January 27, 2020

A project of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries put unsold Christmas trees to good use last week.

The Lowe’s Home Improvement store on North Main Street donated about 100 unsold trees to VDGIF. Cinderblocks were donated by Tidewater Block of Suffolk. And Suffolk Parks and Recreation helped out with the project.

The trees were tied to the blocks and dropped in Lone Star Lakes’ Butler Tract last week. They will take about six months to become waterlogged and sink completely, but once they do, they should make great habitats for fish in a lake that doesn’t have a lot of natural habitat.

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The trees were dropped in offshore areas as well as along the shoreline, which should allow young fish to hide from larger predators while they grow. It will also give fishermen ideal places to cast their lines, both from the shoreline and from their boats.

With thousands of live Christmas trees being used in Suffolk every year, we’re pleased to see this project give some of them a second life as fish habitat. We hope this project can be expanded in the future, or others developed, that will allow more used Christmas trees from Suffolk to go someplace other than the landfill. Trees are biodegradable and can have a good life even after they’ve been cut down.

Some other suggestions for the reuse of Christmas trees, culled from various internet sources, are below. Perhaps you’ve used some of these in the past or can save some ideas for next year. You’ll want to make sure your tree is completely free of decorations and hasn’t been chemically treated.

Chip it and use it to make mulch.

Use the branches to make a bird feeder in the yard.

Use pine boughs to cover your garden for the winter season.

Prop it up outside to make a habitat for small mammals and birds. Some feeders can be hung as well to make it more attractive.

Cut the trunk into small, round pieces and use them as an edge for your garden.

Buy a rooted tree next year and plant it when the season is over.