What’s next for your Christmas tree

So, Christmas is over.

What’s next for that lovely, and very fragrant tree you purchased?

That depends.

Rule No. 1 from the University of Arkansas Extension Service is “never, ever burn it in your fireplace,” said Tamara Walkingstick in 2018, She is the associate director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center and an extension forester for the Division of Agriculture. Her advice was, “when it’s ready to come down, recycle it in your yard or pond.”

Sound advice for those out in the county.

If you live in a more urban area, like Maumelle and North Little Rock. Those cities are among those that will pick up old Christmas Trees by putting them on the curb, “on your yard waste day.”
Both cities ask all decorations “like lights, tinsel” be removed. Unwanted Christmas decorations and Christmas lights, even those not working, can be taken to any Goodwill, where they will be recycled.

For more information in Maumelle, call 501-851-2888, while those in North Little Rock can call 371-8430.

There’s also another option for disposing of that Christmas tree and that’s sinking them to the bottom of an Arkansas stream or river or lake.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says those trees can then become a fish habitat when they meet their watery end.

Jason Olive, who serves as assistant chief of fisheries for the commission said Christmas trees offer small spaces and dense cover for small fish.

“In ponds where we’ve sunk Christmas trees, we’ve seen increased growth in smaller fish,” Olive said in a news release. “Young bass, crappie and bream and baitfish all benefit from the cover, and larger gamefish will be attracted to the smaller fish.”

The state offers a variety of drop-off locations for old trees but there’s an added bonus for fishermen for those who happen to have a boat, and some rope and cinder blocks. They can get those trees sleeping with the fishes when they want.

Olive said use rope or parachute cord to tie bundles of trees together then use the cinder blocks to weigh the trees down and anchors away.

“Within two to three years, you won’t have much left except the trunks,” Olive said. “When we drained Lower White Oak Lake in Ouachita County recently, we saw several nice piles of Christmas tree trunks that were still good fish habitat after 12 years of being in the water.”

Besides being fun, Clint Coleman, who is the assistant coordinator for the Family and Community Fishing Program for Game and Fish, said that sinking trees, for a fisherman, would, “create their own little honey hole.”

Meaning, a spot only they know about that would provide an ideal fishing spot for years to come.

Trees can be dropped off until the end of January and drop-off locations in central Arkansas include:

  • Greers Ferry Lake – Sandy Beach

  • Devils Fork Recreation Area and Choctaw Recreation Area

  • Lake Conway – Lawrence Landing Access

  • Harris Brake Lake – Chittman Hill Access

  • Lake Overcup – Lake Overcup Landing

  • Lake Barnett – Reed Access

Note: This list has been updated as the river access under the I-30 bridge in North Little Rock has been closed due to construction.