Dead delicacy

Suzanne Daniels’ goats love eating evergreen trees, as they love eating many other things. She collects dead Christmas trees and brings them to her Pear Park farm for them to eat as a treat, and they gradually strip the needles off the trees, and then the bark, leaving only the wood behind.



Suzanne Daniels’ goats love eating evergreen trees, as they love eating many other things. She collects dead Christmas trees and brings them to her Pear Park farm for them to eat as a treat, and they gradually strip the needles off the trees, and then the bark, leaving only the wood behind.



Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to get that fire hazard out of your living room.

I’m talking about the dried-up tree with tinsel and ornaments hanging from the branches and browning needles raining down on the floor.

Sure, you can wait until Valentine’s Day to put it out on the curb, but why not subscribe to the old superstition in my family that says it’s bad luck to keep a tree up past New Year’s Eve? Just get it over with.

The question is, do you throw out the tree or repurpose it?

There are plenty of ideas out there on what you could do with a Christmas tree after it serves its purpose. But few of them are good.

One website suggests cutting the trunk into rings, adding some shellac and making coasters for you and your friends. Unless you have a ton of friends needing cabin chic décor, this sounds like a lot of work to avoid throwing out a dried-up tree you feel slightly guilty about cutting down in the first place.

Some communities offer Christmas tree pickup for composting. While trees are accepted for free at the Mesa County Landfill’s composting facility, you’ll need to take them out there yourself.

You could redecorate the tree with treats for birds and leave it up in your yard. But even then, you’ll eventually need to deal with it.

Unless you have a spare wood chipper sitting around, there are few options of what to do with that tree.

I have a better idea for you. It’s fun, useful and kind of hilarious.

Find your friendly neighborhood goat and give it a treat.

Seriously, dead evergreen trees are a delicacy to goats.

Let’s face it, they’ll eat just about anything. Goats are equal-opportunity feasters on most foliage, but they love evergreens. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, as the tannins in the trees are considered a natural anti-parasitic for the goats.

First, they’ll nibble off the needles. And then, they’ll strip off the bark, leaving behind only the naked, dried trunk that could be used for firewood.

Suzanne Daniels has fed her goats dead Christmas trees for years at her Pear Park farm, and they absolutely love the treat. So for Daniels, this time of year is about scouting out parts of town where people are getting rid of their trees and picking them up for her goats.

One year, she posted a request online for people to call her if they wanted to get rid of their dead trees. She received more than 100 answers and mapped out a route for pickup.

Apparently, this is a thing. Among those replies was a warning from other Christmas tree seekers who informed her that they had been picking up trees in a certain part of town for years and she should stay out of their ‘hood.

Who knew there were territorial dead Christmas tree gangs? Clearly, there’s a market for this.

Well, whether you live on the West side or East side, you might think about finding a hungry goat that wants to munch old Tannenbaum.

Just make sure the tree is free of tinsel, ornaments and other artificial decorations, because the goats aren’t that discerning and would likely consume whatever is left on the tree with the needles.

One thing is for sure, they’ll appreciate your cast-off tree more than the garbage can would.

Erin McIntyre is an advanced master gardener and journalist who hosts “Diggin’ the Garden,” the second Wednesday of every month at noon on KAFM 88.1. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with story ideas or feedback.


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