REED CITY — After they've finished enjoying the beauty of their decorated Christmas trees, many area residents cleaning up the holiday decor can set their trees by the curb.

Within the city of Big Rapids, trees set out by the street will be picked up, said Heather Bowman, director of the department of public works.

"The expected time frame for pickup is within the first two weeks of January," she said. "After that, it's the owner's responsibility to take care of the disposal of their tree."

Bowman encourages all residents to have their trees out for pickup by Jan. 12.

In Reed City, residents can put their used trees out by the street curbs from Jan. 2 to Jan. 12. The Reed City Department of Public Works will handle the pickup at no cost.

The City of Evart also will have the department of public works picking up trees. However, there are no set dates for pickup, with workers set to pick up trees when they start noticing trees being placed by the street.

Those disposing of their Christmas trees at the curb don’t need to cut the tree up like yard waste, but all decorations should be removed.

Aside from just throwing trees out, many people will find other ways to reuse them, said Rick Lucas, district forester with the Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation districts.

"A lot of people will use trees for wildlife habitats, so they set them close to a bird feeder so birds and other small animals, like rabbits, can have cover," he said.

The National Christmas Tree Association suggests placing the Christmas tree in a garden or backyard and using it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter.

Trees also can be used for a fish habitat enhancement in ponds, but it may be spring before residents can set them out, Lucas said.

Residents also can use trees for little brush piles along the edge of their wooded property. Trees also can be recycled or chipped up for mulch, or used for compost.

"Reusing a tree in these ways extends the benefit and enjoyment of using a real tree," Lucas said. "Rather than sending it to a landfill, these ways you are using it in another fashion for the good of the wildlife and environment."