Did you decorate a fresh-cut evergreen tree for the holidays? What can you do with that fragrant adornment, once the Christmas season has passed?
After removing the tinsel, ornaments, and lights, you can wrap up the entire tree in a big tarp, sheet, or old tablecloth to take it outdoors. Then, choose from any of these eco-friendly options for discarding your Douglas fir, blue spruce, northern pine, or other variety of holiday evergreen tree.
1. Recycle it locally.
Many communities offer curbside pickup during the first weeks of January. Often, participating residents may receive free or discounted yard mulch in the spring. Call your City Hall or parks department for local details.
Some city and county zoos actually accept old Christmas trees for animal feeding and habitat creation as well.
2. Cut it up as yard waste.
Grab a few of those oversized brown-paper lawn and leaf bags. Trim the branches off your dried-up Christmas tree, and cut the trunk into several pieces. Toss these bits into the bags, and call for a special pickup, if needed.
3. Mulch it for your own garden.
Do you have a wood chipper? Why not make your own wood mulch for next year’s garden from your spent holiday tree?
4. Turn it into wildlife food.
If you have a non-landscaped portion of your own property, you might place your now-barren Christmas tree out there. Several wildlife species may nibble at the bark and needles for food. Birds might take needles and small branches for nest-building.
5. Use it for erosion prevention.
Is your land on a lakefront or shoreline? You might stick your old holiday tree on the bank to stop waves or tides from eating away at your frontage.
6. Burn it outdoors.
Christmas trees ignite quickly, even almost explosively, but many folks do burn them in fire pits after the holidays. Burning any sort of evergreen in an indoor fireplace is considered unwise, as the sap may harm chimneys, and the sudden inferno can be quite dangerous inside.
7. Bury it in the back 40.
If you have extensive acreage and earth-moving equipment, you can always bury your dead Christmas tree on your own property, where it will decompose naturally.
8. Add it to the compost pile.
A spent holiday tree can make a nice addition to a large compost heap, particularly if you cut it into smaller parts first.
9. Make it a pond habitat.
Even the barest dead evergreen tree can become a favorite fish abode, if it is sunk into a sizable natural private pond.
10. Transform it into a bird feeder.
In a rustic yard or un-groomed area, a skeletal holiday tree may welcome birds to roost and dine, especially when it has been adorned with citrus peels, old cranberry or popcorn strings, or pine cones slathered in peanut butter with bird seed sprinkles.
Here’s an easier and even more ecologically friendly option for future holiday trees.
Next Christmas, why not buy a live Christmas tree, either potted or with burlap-balled roots, and plant it in your own yard after the Yuletide season? Make this an annual tradition, and you will be surprised at how quickly you can spruce up your property.