Christmas Trees | St. Louis Public Radio

Christmas Trees

A Missouri state biologist sinking a Christmas tree in a lake to build fish habitat.
Missouri Department of Conservation

State and local government officials in Missouri are offering to collect natural Christmas trees to be turned in to mulch or fish habitat.

After Christmas, residents of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County will be able to drop off trees at various parks and recycling centers. Most trees collected by St. Louis’ forestry division and St. Charles County will be processed through a chipper and turned into mulch that residents can use for home gardening.

St. Louis County is working with the Missouri Department of Conservation to collect trees for fish habitat.

Salesman Danny Murphy assists customer Betsy Murphy at Summit Produce at Kirkwood Farmer'  Market on Nov. 27, 2018.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Christmas tree buyers may find fewer trees to choose from this year, and it largely depends on whether your tree is grown in the state or elsewhere.

Tree farmers in some states are blaming the Great Recession of 2008 for a shortage. At that time, financial woes prompted farmers to scale back planting and even put some farms out of business. Weather and growing conditions around the country have also had an impact.

It can take about eight years for a tree to reach the typical Christmas tree height of 6 to 8 feet, according to Teresa Meier, a spokesperson for the Missouri Christmas Tree Association.

Missouri Department of Conservation

Instead of kicking that Christmas tree to the curb after the holiday, state wildlife officials want St. Louis area residents to donate their used trees to build fish habitats. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation has been submerging used trees in park lakes for 30 years.

"Over the years, that's really helped our fish population and fishing," said Kevin Meneau, a state fisheries management biologist. Anglers, he said, have noticed that fishing is better near the sunken trees.   

Forest Folks | Flickr, Creative Commons | http://bit.ly/1PkEJdm

As you dash about checking off the last of Christmas lists, begin to set the trimmings of a holiday feast, or simply relax with a day off of work, spend some time with the annual “St. Louis on the Air” Christmas special, which will air at noon on Christmas Eve.

We’re celebrating the holiday with renditions of favorite holiday music, stories and poems. Here’s what you’ll hear:

United States Department of Agriculture | via Flickr

The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan. So how is it that the National Tree Christmas Association is based in Chesterfield?

"There’s lots of office space," joked executive director Rick Dungey.

The trade organization represents about 600 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 3,800 affiliated businesses. While Missouri ranks 26th in Christmas tree production, Dungey said their office's location doesn't much matter when handling their members’ business.