Christmas trees at base of sand dune in Nags Head waiting to collect sand.

Christmas trees at base of sand dune in Nags Head waiting to collect sand.

Have left over Christmas trees and don’t know what to do with it? Here’s a thought: take it down to the beach and put it at the base of a dune.

Actually, it’s probably better that the tree be taken to either one of two folks who are doing that work right now—placing Christmas trees by the dunes.

Donny King from Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk has been doing it since 2013. For Betsy Seawell, owner of the Islander Motel in Nags Head this marks the tenth year she has been doing it.

According to what they have told the Outer Banks Voice, they first heard about how effective the trees could be in collecting sand from a program that Friends of Jockey’s Ridge had been doing with local middle school.

The hope was that by placing trees on the south slope of Jockey’s Ridge, sand would be collected, the dune would stabilize and West Soundside Road would be protected.

The trees did collect the sand, but did little to stop the migration of the dune to the south. This past year, dump truck had to move the sand back to the top of the dune.

Christmas Trees Stabilize Dunes

One thing the project did demonstrate and Betsy and Donny have confirmed—Christmas trees placed at the base of the dune collect a lot of sand and collect it quickly.

It is not a perfect solution. Although it does help to build and stabilize the dunes, it does nothing to rebuild the beach if it has been retreating, nor does it mitigate wave action.

Nonetheless, there is considerable evidence that it is effective in helping to rebuild the dune line.

Donny has gone beyond just the Christmas tree project, expanding the idea to include sand fencing and grasses to stabilize the dunes through Better Beaches OBX.

It’s all based, though, on those Christmas trees that seem to end up every year, discarded by the side of the road.

Mark January 18. That’s going to be used Christmas Tree Day, when something like 1000 trees will be brought to the Outer Banks by connections Donny has with Virginia Beach restaurants.

There is always something interesting happening on the Outer Banks. Stay a while with Brindley Beach Vacations and see what it’s all about.