ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Once the holiday season comes to an end, you may ask yourself what to do with your live Christmas tree. One environmentally friendly option is to recycle your tree in a lake.

Department of Natural Resources Assistant Regional Director William Wood said the first step to recycling your tree is to contact whoever manages the lake reservoir near you. Once you contact management, there are various options.

“Here at Twin Lakes boat ramp and also at Coneross boat ramp you can just come and drop if off and the Corp. of Engineers will use some of those to make fish trackers, but anglers can also come by and pick up a few and make their own spots somewhere” Wood explained.

Wood said the trees need to be be placed at least 5 feet under water so it won’t be a hazard to navigation. He also said the tree will need to be weighed down with a clean anchor, such as a concrete block.

“If you’re going to do that at Lake Hartwell, keep them in about 8-12 feet of water,” Wood explained. “Make sure not to put them in a river channel or right by someone’s dock.”

Once the tree is under water, it begins to help its surroundings in the lake.

“The tree’s provide nutrients for invertebrates, but also they provide habitats for fish. It gives smaller fish a place to hide from the predators. It also concentrates some of the smaller fish and gives predators a place to hunt and try to catch some of the prey fish,” Wood explained.

Wood said this also helps fisherman by

“That gives them a place to go to and fish with the knowledge that something is there to attract the fish they are looking for,” Wood said.

Fisherman David Turner said he has been using this technique for 25 years.

“We use Christmas trees for bait. Drop it down in there, the bait gets in, the bass gets in it. So it works out really good and gives back to the lakes,” Turner explained.

To learn more about how to recycle your live tree, click here.