Recycled Christmas Trees

 In Do It Yourself, Garden & Landscaping, OBX Nature

Recycled Christmas trees decorate the dunes along the OBX? Outer Banks Christmas Trees have one sole purpose, and that is to celebrate within homes for the holidays. Right? Wrong. At least not here on the Outer Banks. Christmas trees that were once adorned with fancy, meaningful ornaments are now being recycled and returned to their original home –  Mother Nature.

The local Boy Scout Troop 117 located in Kitty Hawk are offering to collect and recycle any used Christmas trees as a service to the Dare County community.

Christmas tree dune replenishment is becoming a key component combating any dune erosion and weathering.

obx recycle trees

The troop uses an inventive way to give Christmas trees a second life, all while serving Mother Nature and her communities. Here is exactly how the process works – Every year in January, the Boy Scouts will pick up trees from local communities at no charge.

The Scouts will then clear trees of any and all decorations that may be remaining. Next, the scouts then work with beachfront homeowners that are interested in this service to place trees on their dune lines. This simple act aids in the growth and maintaining of sand dune stabilization and restoration. Seems like such a simple and easy solution to an actual real-life problem!

The Boy Scouts are trained to strategically place and secure undecorated Christmas trees on a dune line, in a position that will trap any blowing sand. This will also promote the growth of sand dune grass as well. The trees are placed on their sides and are secured to the ground by scooping or shoveling sand on the lower branches, or even by being staked down. Over time, the tree needles become even denser than they already are and can be successfully effective at trapping and stopping the movement of sand. The barrier of trees acts as a natural sand fence. Who knew that Christmas trees could have such an important purpose?

obx recycle trees dunes

The stabilization of sand dunes involves quite a few different actions on our part. Wooden sand fences can help retain sand and other materials that are needed for a healthy sand dune ecosystem. But purchasing materials and constructing wooden fences, especially for all of the areas on the Outer Banks that require dune stabilization, can get fairly costly and challenging. The usage of Christmas trees can also be very advantageous for sand dune restoration. The trees quickly decompose and provide nutrients for their seeds. The seeds then begin to germinate and vegetation takes off. When we plant vegetation, this can reduce the impact of wind and water. Asking residents to recycle their Christmas trees is a free, do-good kind of service for the local beach communities that Troop 117 has instituted.

It is imperative that we protect our sand dunes and coastline from natural disasters. Sand dunes preserve inland areas from swells, tides, and wind, and a healthy beach dune is a very powerful resolution against coastal erosion. Mother Nature, along with the ocean waters and winds can have an unpredictable force against our coastal environment, so protecting the dunes is crucial to the Outer Banks surroundings and habitats.

So when your holiday season comes to an end this year, before you toss your Christmas tree to the curb, remember that these large pieces of greenery serve an even bigger purpose. They are a critical part of saving the ever cherished Outer Banks sand dunes. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Now go reuse your Outer Banks Christmas trees!

christmas tree recycling
Tara Turner
Author: Tara Turner

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