A live Christmas tree may have given your home that one-of-a-kind ambiance during the holiday season. Now that the holidays are over, what does it mean for your natural Christmas tree? It can find a second career in many conservation-friendly ways.

    Christmas trees can also give a holiday gift to wildlife. They are great for habitat – place them in a quiet corner of your yard to provide cover for wildlife or stand them up and place bird feeders on them for winter feeding.

    Outdoor lovers can fill a coffee can or container with needles and small twigs to make an excellent year-round fire starter. Cover the twigs in melted wax to increase the shelf life and make them more effective.

    Trees can be chipped and turned into mulch which you can use to return organic matter to the soil; as this mulch breaks down, it helps keep the soil moist and cool during the summer and warmer during the winter. Gardeners can cut boughs and branches from their trees and place them over perennial beds to help protect them from frost and snow. Pine needles are very moisture and mold-resistant thanks to their waxy qualities.

    Or, how about creating a home for fish? Property owners can use trees to help fish in their ponds. The trees benefit some of the most popular fish that anglers like to pursue, including largemouth bass, bluegill, red-ear sunfish, and crappie. Since these fish typically spawn in shallow water, MDC recommends tying the tree to a cement block and submerging it at a depth of four-to-seven feet. This gives emerging fish easy access to the cover. No need to cut it up, the entire tree is best for creating fish structure. Of course, you need to remove all traces of decorations, tinsel, or garlands. Since the underwater habitat will concentrate fish, place the tree so you can easily cast nearby and see if your catch rate improves.

    One of the many wonders of live Christmas trees is their potential to be recycled in so many beneficial ways. They truly embody the spirit of the season and can continue to give their natural gifts long after the holidays are over.