GRAND BLANC — Although many trees end up in the garbage bin following Christmas, Mike Yancho, Sr., General Manager of Trim Pines Farms, indicates recycling the tree is not only fun but educational, if you have kids at home.
In addition to what dead trees normally do—turn into mulch (food) for surrounding plants, there is a host of other things you can do with that evergreen.
Do you or a neighbor have a pond? A tree can be used as fish habitat when sunk into the water. Do you have a good size back yard? A tree makes a great shelter for birds in the winter, as well as rabbits. The tree can even be used to feed them— people can put peanut butter or oranges on the branches.
Another local business, J.J. Cardinals, located at 12830 S. Saginaw, 810-695- 8733 in Grand Blanc offer recipe sheets for many different bird treats that can be made at home out of dried fruit, nuts, and other items.
A quick search of the internet will offer several results as well. If you aren’t into the nature aspect of recycling, Yancho states that many communities offer curbside pickup for mulching or composting trees.
According to Yancho, Oakland County parks has a tree recycling program where trees can be dropped off from Dec. 26, 2013 – Jan. 13, 2014, seven days a week, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at their parks, including Groveland Oaks Park (14555 Dixie Highway—at Grange Hall Road in Holly).
Tree drop-off is free although all decorations, plastic, tinsel and wire must be removed. The program is self-service and assistance in removing trees from vehicles is unavailable. In the Spring, residents can get their tree back — in the form of compost and wood chips from the park.
If you are able to cut the branches off the tree, they can be cut up to use as extra winter cover for tender landscape plants to help them survive the cold months. Straw or leaf mulching is also needed if you plan to get a potted tree to replant in your yard.
Yancho states although it may be trendy to get a potted tree, they can only survive under very specific conditions. He recommends the homeowner prepare a spot for planting first, by mulching a spot in the yard. It is important to realize how big the tree will grow and plant at least 15 feet from a driveway, sidewalk, or house and remember the trees can get to be 20- 30 feet wide in its lifetime.
Also, many people may not be aware that, even though they are green evergreens do go through dormancy in the colder months, so being taken into a very warm house can shock them out of the dormancy cycle—which is important in order to not damage the buds of next years’ growth.
Additionally, Yancho recommended such a tree only be in the house 5-7 days depended on how warm your home is. When the holiday is over, in order to not shock the tree further, if the outside temperature is below zero, the tree should be placed in a garage or other cool place before being replanted in the previously mulched area.
After planting it is important to add 4-6 in of mulch over the planting site to keep the roots warm during the winter, and to make sure the tree is well watered as well. Another consideration to be aware of is exposure to road salt.
“Some trees are resistant to salt,” Yancho explained, “and also people need to be aware of run-off areas”.
Yancho gained his tree expertise after the oil embargo and resulting agricultural crisis of the late 1970s when it no longer became profitable for the family farm to produce cash crops on a large scale.