Old Christmas Trees – The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Person standing outside with a pile of trees

You’re probably thinking to yourself – It’s January, why are we still talking about Christmas trees? It’s because Christmas trees continue to work for us even after the holidays and they deserve credit for that!

Last Saturday we held a Christmas tree drop off event at Upper Credit Conservation Area (UCCA). Despite the frigid temperatures, residents dropped off over 30 trees.

Two people carrying christmas trees in a parking lot
Staff collecting old Christmas trees.

January may not be the best month for in-stream aquatic restoration work. However, it’s prime time to collect materials for restoration projects in the summer.

Why do we collect Christmas trees?

For over a decade, we’ve collected Christmas trees and installed them along the banks of the river at UCCA. Before it became a conservation area, the land was used for cattle pasture and cattle had open access to the river.

Over time, cattle damaged the riverbanks, causing erosion. This caused the river to widen, which then caused water temperatures to increase. The Upper Credit River is a coldwater fishery. That means increases in water temperature combined with habitat degradation impacts sensitive species like brook trout.

Group of brook trout
Brook trout are a sensitive species that requires cold, clean streams to survive.

Christmas trees are an excellent material for in-stream restoration. They are biodegradable and have needles and branches that trap sediment flowing downstream. Over time, trees collect sediment which narrows the river channel by forming new banks. The river also becomes deeper helping to make the river cooler. Newly formed banks can also be planted with trees and shrubs that shade the river further, helping to lower water temperature.

Side-by-side comparison photos of restoration along the Credit River
2004 before Christmas trees were installed; 2017 after Christmas trees restoration began

Thank you to the community and everyone who expressed interest or donated a Christmas tree. We cannot do this work without your support.

Stay tuned for updates on our final year of restoration at UCCA!

Stay up-to-date with projects in the Credit River Watershed by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Comments (8)

    1. Thank you for your interest in our Christmas Tree Collection event. Apologies for the late reply. We have had a few inquiries about tree drop-offs and we were trying to coordinate a day, time, and location. We are pleased to tell you that we will be accepting trees at our Meadowvale Shop, located at 7060 Old Mill Lane, Mississauga, on January 22nd from 10AM to 11AM. If you could kindly confirm your attendance, that would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thank you for your interest in our Christmas Tree Collection event. Apologies for the late reply. We have had a few inquiries about tree drop-offs and we were trying to coordinate a day, time, and location. We are pleased to tell you that we will be accepting trees at our Meadowvale Shop, located at 7060 Old Mill Lane, Mississauga, on January 22nd from 10AM to 11AM. If you could kindly confirm your attendance, that would be greatly appreciated.

  1. I donated a Christmas tree this year, and it’s great to read this piece to give more information on how my tree will be used to help the park!

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