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, 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 country living.
If you live in a more urban area, the City of Little Rock is among those that will pick up old Christmas trees by putting them on the curb, “with your yard waste,” according to the city’s web site. “They will be picked up and mulched at our landfill.”
The city also advised that unwanted Christmas decorations and Christmas lights, even those not working can be taken to any Goodwill where they will be recycled.
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 them 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 using 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 include:
Arkansas River – Verizon Access beneath the I-30 Bridge
Cox Creek Lake – Cox Creek Lake Public Access
Greers Ferry Lake – Sandy Beach (Heber Springs), Devils Fork Recreation Area and Choctaw Recreation Area (Choctaw-Clinton)
Lake Conway – Lawrence Landing Access
Harris Brake Lake – Chittman Hill Access
Lake Overcup – Lake Overcup Landing
Lake Barnett – Reed Access
Lake Hamilton – Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery Access Area
Cook’s Lake – Potlatch Conservation Education Center at 625 Cook’s Lake Rd., Casscoe, or the bus lot across from Grand Avenue United Methodist Church in Stuttgart.
Jonesboro – Craighead Forest Park Lake boat ramp
Lake Bono – Boat Ramp Access
Lake Walcott – Crowley’s Ridge State Park Boat Ramp Access
Beaver Lake – Highway 12 Access and AGFC Don Roufa Hwy 412 Access
Lake Elmdale – Boat Ramp Access
Bob Kidd Lake – Boat Ramp Access
Crystal Lake – Boat Ramp Access
Lake Chicot – Connerly Bayou Access Area
Lake Monticello – Hunger Run Access
Bois d’Arc Lake – Kidd’s Landing or Hatfield Access
Millwood Lake – Cottonshed, White Cliffs Recreation Areas and the Millwood State Park ramp on the point
Dierks Lake – Jefferson Ridge South Recreation Area
De Queen Lake – Any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp
Gillham Lake – Any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp
Lake Greeson – New Cowhide Cove and Self Creek Recreation areas
Camden – AGFC Regional Office on Ben Lane, next to the National Guard Armory
Upper White Oak Lake – Upper Jack’s Landing
Magnolia – Columbia County Road Department Yard on Highway 371
El Dorado – City recycling center drop-offs: one behind Arby’s and one on South Jackson
Smackover – Recycling Drop-Off Center (these will be transported to El Dorado)
South Fork Lake – South Fork Lake Access
Terre Noire Lake – Terre Noire Lake Access
Hope – AGFC Regional Office on U.S. Highway 67 East