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Town of Halifax offers options for recycling Christmas trees

Until the multi-jurisdictional Green Waste Recycling Program is implemented after the closing of the South Boston landfill, the Town of Halifax Solid Waste Department will not conduct a special Christmas tree curbside pick-up for town residents and businesses as was the case last season, Town Manager Carl Espy said. However, in collaboration with the Halifax County Improvement Council, the Town of Halifax continues to encourage the recycling of Christmas trees.

“This year thanks to Jerry Epps Landscape Company, town and county residents can drop Christmas trees off at the company’s Sinai composting station from Jan. 3–8, Espy said.

Directions to the Jerry Epps Landscape Company composting station: From Halifax, take Mountain Road (VA 360W) approximately four miles from the Halifax County Courthouse and turn left on Sinai Road (Rte. 654). Go approximately 0.171 miles and turn right on Grubby Road (Rte. 678) and continue 0.704 miles past Sinai Elementary School on Grubby Road to the field on the left; look for the “Christmas Tree Recycling Drop Off” sign.

“Please do not take trees to the company’s office and nursery located at 5230 Halifax Road as they will not be accepted,” Espy added.

Together with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, the Southside Master Gardener’s Association and the Halifax County Improvement Council, the Town of Halifax recommends persons also consider recycling Christmas trees in the following ways:

Safety first: Don’t burn Christmas trees in the fireplace or wood stove--the resin can build up in the chimney or cause a flue fire.

Bird Feeding Station: Christmas trees can be used to create a feeding station for birds and other backyard wildlife. Secure the tree by wiring it to a post or deck, nailing it to a flat wooden base and anchoring it with a rope and three stakes, or supporting the trunk in a five-gallon bucket filled with damp sand. Popcorn garlands and strings of cranberries, unshelled peanuts, stale marshmallows or cereal will attract birds initially. Plan to add special snacks throughout the winter like apple slices, orange wedges, leftover holiday breads, fruit cakes or nuts, suet cakes or pine cones smeared with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed.

Kids of all ages will enjoy watching their wildlife friends enjoying their holiday tree.

Plant Protection: Christmas tree limbs can be laid over perennial flowers (like mums and bulbs) to insulate plants against wind, severe cold and soil heaving. Evergreen branches stuck into the ground like a picket fence around broad-leaved evergreens such as holly or rhododendrons will protect plants from drying winter winds. Christmas wreaths are a perfect size to put around many perennials as a mulch.

Mulch for Trees: Chipped needles and limbs make excellent mulch around trees and shrubs. Fresh chips should be composted first for about three months.

Enhanced Fish Habitat:
A Christmas tree can be placed in a pond or lake to create shade and hiding spots for fish. Be sure to remove all traces of ornaments, hooks and tinsel from the tree. Weights, such as concrete blocks, can be tied on, or the tree can be set in a bucket of cement. A single tree is good, but more are better, providing spaces for fish to congregate. Tie them together and weigh them down. Let your neighbors know that you will take care of their discarded trees.

Brush Pile for Wildlife: Brush piles can provide dense cover for ground-nesting birds, rabbits and other small mammals. Adding a Christmas tree to an existing pile can be a good thing. Stack layers of logs at right angles to each other to make a base for the pile. Place treetops, old Christmas trees, limbs, stones or stumps on top of the base to complete the pile. Ideal piles are four to eight feet tall and from 10 to 20 feet in diameter, but any size can help protect birds and small animals.