Recycling Christmas Trees

Dec 27, 2015

December 27 - January 2

Discover Nature this week by recycling your Christmas tree and improving wildlife and fish habitat at the same time.

There is one last thing to do before we start the countdown to the next Christmas season: Put this year’s tree to rest. But if you used a real tree this year, it is still useful once the lights and tinsel are removed. 

Christmas trees can be recycled by putting them beside bird feeders to provide extra cover and nesting places, or they can be put into ponds or lakes to give fish extra hiding places.

According to Fisheries Management Biologist, Mark Boone, with the Missouri Department of Conservation, providing brush, such as Christmas trees and aquatic vegetation for pond and lake fish is like furnishing our homes.

He says just like we need furniture, fish like resting areas, shade and escape cover for their environments, too.

However, small fish do not just “like” the furnishings: they need it to hide from predators. And on the flip side, Boone says trees and vegetation underwater can make a hunt easier for a crappie or bass that likes to hide behind a limb and wait for its prey.

When recycling your Christmas trees for fish cover, think large. While three or four trees can provide adequate cover, Boone says larger brush piles are even better. This makes a great opportunity for neighbors to get together and combine efforts, by recycling a whole neighborhood of this year’s Christmas trees.

You can anchor several trees together with concrete blocks, then place several of these small brush piles next to each other to make large brush piles. Also, do not forget to think about water depth before sinking your trees. Placing the brush pile bundles in a row from three to eight feet deep is best. 

For more information, contact your local Missouri Department of Conservation office or search for “Aquaguide” at