You’ve finally decided to take the Christmas tree down. The needles may be falling off, and there may be a stray strand of tinsel here and there, but that Christmas tree isn’t done working for you yet. Before you toss it on the curb, here are a few ideas for ways to recycle your Christmas tree in your garden.
Provide Shelter for Backyard Wildlife
You can leave the tree right in its stand, and set it out in the yard for the rest of the winter. It can fill in a bare spot, giving you something pretty to look at, but, more importantly, it can provide shelter for birds. If you have plenty of trees around consider laying your tree on its side to provide shelter for animals.
Start a New Compost Pile
The best base for a new compost pile is a layer of thin branches — including evergreen branches. This allows a bit of airflow at the bottom of the pile, and the branches will break down over time. Just trim them down so they fit in your bin, then stack them four to six inches high. After you’ve got them in, go ahead and start adding your kitchen scraps and other compostables as usual.
Make It into Mulch
And, no, you don’t need a fancy chipper/shredder to do this if you don’t have one. Consider getting into the habit of cutting the thinner Christmas tree branches into little pieces and adding them to the mulched paths between my vegetable garden beds. Simply snip them into one to two-inch pieces and toss them on the path. It’s a cheap way to mulch a pathway, and, as a bonus, this path smells absolutely wonderful when you walk on it!
Use the tree as a stake
Rather than reducing your tree to mulch or compost, you can strip it bare to create a fantastic frame for flowers or beans to grow up. You can use the unwanted pine needles in compost or sprinkle them on a muddy path to provide grip.
Environmental Charity Greenpeace encourages people to pot their Christmas trees after use. Many of the trees you buy over Christmas are incredibly resilient, even those that have had their roots chopped off. Although the branches may already be dropping, you’ll be surprised at their ability to recover if planted in a pot of soil and left to establish. You could decorate the tree with food for birds (see below), giving it use in the garden even if the roots fail to take.
After all is said and done, you can also just leave your tree to be picked up by the Government. Find out your collection days here.