Don't forget about invasive species when disposing Christmas trees, greenery

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has tips and recommendations for safely disposing Christmas trees to avoid spreading diseases. One option is to call the city of Bemidji for curbside removals.

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BEMIDJI -- With the Christmas holiday now in the rearview, residents are being reminded to properly remove trees from their homes.

According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, trees and boughs can be used by diseases and invasive species to move to another landscape. The MDA notes the elongate hemlock scale as one of the insects of concern in Minnesota.

Damage from the insect can cause the needles of hemlocks, firs and spruces to yellow and prematurely drop. Other issues include boxwood blight and oriental bittersweet, which can be found on wreaths and centerpieces, which can endanger native trees.

The best option, the MDA states, is to use a curbside tree collection or bring the tree to a designated drop-off site. Residents are asked to not toss trees and greenery into backyard woods or residential compost piles, which can allow pests to escape.

Wreaths and other decorative greens, meanwhile, can be disposed of in trash cans. In Minnesota, if local government units don't have options, residents are asked to burn the greens.


However, the city of Bemidji does offer a curbside pickup service.

"Have the tassels off because we want to keep it going to a compost site," said Todd Anderson, the superintendent of the city's sewer, water and refuse services. "If they have things left on them or if they're put in a bag, it can change the category. Place it by the curb, call City Hall and we'll pick it up shortly."

City Hall can be reached at (218) 759-3560 and refuse services can be reached at (218) 333-1854. For non-city residents, the Beltrami County Solid Waste Department can be called at (218) 333-8187.

If residents suspect a tree may be infected with an invasive species or disease, they're asked to call the MDA's special line at (888) 545-6684 or email .

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