Christmas trees can provide shelter for wildlife, as well as improve moisture and provide nutrients for soil (Courtesy: Nature Conservancy of Canada)

While many are packing up their Christmas decorations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is hoping that instead of hitting the curb, Christmas trees will be left in people's backyards to help wildlife.

The tree can be propped up against a fence or tree, or laid down in a garden to provide maximum benefit for backyard wildlife.

It can provide shelter during storms, as well as a habitat for bird populations during the cold weather experienced during winter months.

The NCC also encourages re-decorating the tree with animal-friendly foods including pine cones filled with peanut butter, or strings of peanuts and suet.

"Evergreens offer a safe place for birds to rest while they visit your feeder," NCC Sr. Conservation Biologist, Dan Kraus said. "Another benefit is that if you leave the tree in your garden over the summer, it will continue to provide habitat for wildlife and improve your soil as it decomposes."

In spring when the tree has lost its needles, the tree branches can be cut off and laid near flowers or other garden plants.
The branches and remaining trunk can provide shelter to plants and insects, as well as holding moisture and improving soil quality.

Kraus also recommends drilling holes in the trunk to speed up the decomposition process.

Backyards have small ecosystems of their own, and the NCC says by adding a former Christmas tree, an opportunity to learn about backyard biodiversity is created.