Properly lay out holiday greens, protect MN trees


Holiday greenery brings joy and delight, but is there a joke lurking in your decor? Trees and branches can provide disease and invasive species the perfect path through our landscape.

Pests of concern include the elongated hemlock mealybug, a small insect established in the eastern United States where many decorative Fraser firs grow. Damage from this invasive insect can cause yellowing and premature needle drop in hemlock, fir and spruce trees. Additionally, boxwood blight and oriental sweet and sour, sometimes found on wreaths and centerpieces, can endanger native trees and other landscaping. More information on these threats is available on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) website at

To protect our environment, the State of Minnesota requires residents to properly dispose of greenery and trees after the holiday season.

At the end of the season, remember these guidelines:

  • Your best option is to use a curbside tree collection or bring to a designated drop-off site. Check with your waste hauler, city or county to see what services are available in your area.

  • Don’t throw trees and greenery in your backyard woods or residential compost heap, which could allow hitchhiking pests to escape.

  • Wreaths and other decorative greenery can be thrown in the trash.

  • If your city or county doesn’t have an organized pickup or drop-off, the last resort would be to burn the greens. Always check with local ordinances first and follow them.

If you suspect that your greenery or tree may be infested with an insect or an invasive disease, contact MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or [email protected] us.

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