Surrey firefighters handle Christmas trees at Newton Athletic Park during a charity chipping event in 2015. (File photo)

Your Christmas tree: Chip it, curb it or chuck it in backyard as gift to wildlife

Several tree-chipping events in Surrey planned on weekend of Jan. 4-5

Now that Christmas is over for another year, what to do with the tree?

In Surrey, natural trees can be placed on the curb for collection by city recycling crews.

“Before putting your tree in your organics bin, the tree must be cut up into pieces no bigger than three feet long,” says a post on the city’s website (surrey.ca).

“Remove all tinsel, lights, decorations, tree stands and plastic bags from Christmas trees prior to disposal.”

Natural trees can also be brought to one of the many tree-chipping events planned around Surrey, including those hosted by Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society at Newton Athletic Park and also Guildford Town Centre on Saturday, Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Elsewhere, Surrey Central Lions Club host a tree-chip event at Central City Shopping Centre (10153 King George Blvd.) on Sunday, Jan. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with donations to Surrey Food Bank. At Holy Cross High School, tree chipping is done by donation on Saturday, Jan. 4 and Sunday, Jan. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 16079 88th Ave., with proceeds to local charities and youth via the Knights of Columbus.

Meantime, the Nature Conservancy of Canada suggests leaving your old Christmas tree in your backyard – as a gift to wildlife.

Dan Kraus, the organization’s senior conservation biologist, says leaving the tree in your backyard over the winter can provide “many benefits” for backyard wildlife, as the tree can provide “important habitat for bird populations during the winter months, especially on cold nights and during storms.”

He suggests propping it up near another tree, against a fence or lay it in your garden. Get the family involved by redecorating it with pine cones filled with peanut butter, strings of peanuts and suet for birds to enjoy while they find shelter in the tree.

“Evergreens offer a safe place for birds to rest while they visit your feeder,” Kraus said in a news release. “Another benefit is that if you leave the tree in your garden over the summer, it will continue to provide habitat for wildlife and improve your soil as it decomposes.”

By spring, he noted, the tree will have lost most of its needles, resembling a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree. Simply cut the tree branches, lay them where spring flowers are starting to emerge in your garden and place the trunk on soil, but not on top of the flowers.

Kraus says the tree branches and trunk can provide habitat, shelter wildflowers, hold moisture and help build the soil, mimicking what happens with dead trees and branches in a forest. Toads will seek shelter under the log, and insects, including pollinators such as carpenter bees, will burrow into the wood.

“By fall, the branches and trunk will begin to decompose and turn into soil,” Kraus explained. “Many of our Christmas trees, particularly spruce and balsam fir, have very low rot resistance and break down quickly when exposed to the elements. The more contact the cut branches and trunk have with the ground, the quicker it will decompose. Drilling holes in the tree trunk will speed up that process.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Ali Watson in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…,” which plays until Nov. 8. (photo: Moonrider Productions)
Viewers of Arts Club’s streaming plays support Surrey Civic Theatres

Company’s ‘bubble method’ of theatre production means just 50 in-person tickets for each performance

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read