The Christmas holiday may be over, but thanks to a local recycling program your Christmas tree can keep on beautifying Missoula.

Missoula Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry Division urges people to participate in its free Christmas Evergreen program, which turns Christmas trees into soil enrichment.

Last year, the program not only recycled more than 15,000 trees, but also helped to save valuable landfill space by using the holiday icons to benefit gardens and lawns, said Greg Howe, Missoula urban forester.

The program has been around for well over a decade and continues to be a successful solution to an annual waste dilemma.

“By preventing the trees from going in the trash can or in the landfill, they can have another life as compost,” Howe said. “They get ground down into compost and put into soil and used in garden top dressing.”


Work crews will pick up the trees at four sites throughout the city.

These sites, Howe said, are for trees only, and when dropping off trees, please remove all decorations.

While the program is free, donations to Christmas Evergreen are welcome, Howe said. All money collected through the program will be used to help plant more trees in Missoula.

Howe said he would like the recycling program to grow and to become more widely known by city residents.

To do that, he said, “we would like more PR for it so people can participate in it, and we are looking for a sponsor to build advertising for it.”

“We are looking for a partnership to help us spread the word,” he said. “If we found sponsorship to help pay for the Christmas Evergreen program, the money we would save would allow us to put money toward more tree planting.

“If somebody wants to be a sponsor, or if they just want to make a donation, we would greatly appreciate it.”

To donate, phone 721-PARK, or stop by Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park. Donations can also be mailed to Urban Forestry Division, 100 Hickory St., Missoula, MT 59801.

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