As Christmas decorations come down, many Missourians must now find something to do with the live trees they purchased for the holiday. The Missouri Department of Conservation offers a couple of suggestions.

One that many are already familiar with is sinking those trees in ponds or lakes to provide habitat for fish. At Mark Twain Lake, for example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in its seventh year of collecting trees to be bundled together and sunk into the Lake.

Department of Conservation spokesman Jim Low says that is perfectly good use for trees. He notes, however, “You do need quite a few of them to make a significant amount of bottom structure for fish.”

Another use, which Low describes as his personal favorite, involves planting that tree outside. “Plant it in front of your bay window if you’ve got one, or your kitchen window or wherever you like to watch birds, and you can leave it in the stand so that you can continue to put water in there or you can just stick the trunk in the ground if that’s easier for you, if you don’t want your stand to get rusty.”

The tree can then be decorated with edible ornaments to attract deer and birds. Low says this can be fun to do with kids. “Fruit-eating birds like hand-me-downs from your refrigerator,” like apples or oranges that are past their prime. Grapefruit, cranberries and beef suet are other items that can attract wildlife.

Low says using the tree gives birds a place to eat that is hidden from predators. “By putting the food items inside or on the edges of a Christmas tree, they’re able to sit inside that Christmas tree and enjoy the food items and not be very exposed to predators.”

Find more information from the Department on tree care tips at its website.