(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — When the tree came home in late November or early December, it may have felt reminiscent of the grand tree that stands at Rockefeller Center in New York City; but now, a couple of missed waterings and a whole holiday season later, it probably looks a lot more like a Charlie Brown tree.
Its time has come — the season is over and the Christmas tree must go. The good news is many garbage services haul away Christmas trees.
In the city of Erie, “Holiday tree” collection is Dec. 25 through Jan. 19. Trees can be placed curbside on regular collection nights and they’ll be hauled away.
Millcreek Township’s contracted hauler also collects Christmas trees curbside. Pickup will be Jan. 10 to Jan. 14. Place only the tree curbside (remove any stands or decorations). Trees are taken to Millfair Compost Center where they’re turned into mulch. Wood chips and screened mulch then are available for free during the regular operating season.
In the city of Meadville, the city’s contracted waste hauler will pick up Christmas trees curbside between Jan. 9 and Jan. 20. If the tree isn’t picked up with regular household trash, the city says to leave the tree curbside and a second truck will come along to collect remaining trees.
In Meadville, any trees taller than 6 feet or wider than 4 feet must be cut into small sections before being placed curbside. All decorations and covers should be removed, and trees covered in snow or frozen to the ground will not be picked up. There will not be a Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce pickup this year, a city press release said.
Customers who use Waste Management for pickup services can place their Christmas tree at the curb the night before scheduled pickup. The trees must not exceed the maximum length for pickup and may need to be cut before being put out on the curb. Remove any decorations.
For those folks who would like to repurpose their Christmas tree, Penn State Extension offers several options.
That old Christmas tree can be tied to another tree and decorated with pinecones covered in peanut butter and bird seed to offer shelter and food for birds. Other decorations can include garlands of unsalted popcorn, and apple and orange slices.
Trees can provide habitat for fish when sunk into bodies water (check with the appropriate governing agencies before tossing a tree into any public waterway). Some public beaches may want the trees to prevent beach erosion. Other public parks may want the trees to prevent stream erosion or, like Millfair Compost Center, they may turn the trees into mulch to be used for park maintenance.
For those with livestock, goats enjoy eating pine needles. And the pine needles have nutrients for the goats.
Christmas trees in good health also can be repurposed into wreaths — instructions abound online. Some require a wire frame purchased from an arts and crafts store, others don’t.