ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

1-3 on 3-1

This is amazing and funny. "Compost your X-mas tree." First off, there are several things to understand before the "last word" is to be had. Our Solstice tree is usually brought in on the eve of solstice, she lasts indoors until Imbolc, then makes her way into the yard, where she attracts birds, embracing them in her protective boughs and concentrates their feces as rich nitrogen laden soil amendment. Each bird seems obligated to poo a little, as part of their pre-flight checklist/ritual(perhaps to make them lighter and more maneuverable.)and strategically placed trees can have benefits that charge the soil's battery with nutrient dense material plus, you get the beauty of a tree that slows the wind and moderates the climate, even though it is no longer actively growing. The tree can be propped against a fence, post, or a tall stake that you put into the ground (in preparation before the ground freezes, somewhere around Sowen). If you have room, you can even lay your tree down and wildlife will enjoy the cover it provides. Decorating with birdseed and suet cakes can provide both food and cover for the birds.

If you have forest trees or garden beds nearby that are acid loving, you can eventually chop the tree into smaller bits and add it to the soils around your trees or garden plants for mulch. This can eliminate the need for trucks to haul them away. It helps to remind humans not to step in the delicate soil, so that beneficial microbes and other plants can survive and flourish as well.

Alternately, you could reduce the tree to char by burning it in a TLUD (Top Lit Up Draft)unit or in a retort. This process creates syngas, which in most TLUD units is vented and fuels an afterburner which in turn draws the air up through the material being charred, that can utilize approximately 50% of the energy that the wood contained, while the rest of the energy becomes pure carbon, a miraculous soil amendment. ECO-Tours offers biochar seminars where we discuss not only the creation of char, but the colonization of char and nutrification processes to actively build soil, increasing yields and reducing the need for fertilization and chemical inputs over the long haul. If you do burn your tree, it is worth making sure that you only turn it to char, the other way of burning produces only white ash and is unhealthy for soil by comparison.

Imagine char as a massive condo complex for soil microbes and beneficial fungi. It actually creates a sort of battery of energy based on and in nutrients that persist over time made available to plants through symbioses of millions of organisms living as a culture, much like yeast inhabits bread. These microbes also contain water in their cells, by the billions, stabilizing soil moisture by their very existence. As you can see there are many reasons to "recycle" your tree.

As a last resort, take your tree to the yard waste center in your community.

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