Although taking down the Christmas tree isn’t nearly as fun as putting it up, you can recycle or reuse the tree and its branches. Here are some tips.
- Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds while they sit in the branches for shelter. Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland, and tinsel strands are removed.
- To prevent the tree from rolling away in winter winds, secure the trunk to the ground with wire or twine or use stakes dug into the dirt.
- A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
- Chop or grind smaller branches for wood chips to use in flower, tree, and shrub beds.
- Larger branches can be cut into smaller bundles for winter protective mulch around newly planted perennials and small shrubs. Be sure to remove the branches in spring when the plants begin to grow again.
- Recycle your tree – many communities have tree recycling locations. Check here for locations near you.
The major uses for recycled trees include:
- Chipping (chippings are used for various things from mulch to hiking trails)
- Beachfront erosion prevention
- Lake and river shoreline stabilization
- Fish habitat
- River delta sedimentation management
Next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas.
- Before planting, make sure to remove the burlap and twine from the rootball. Nurseries often chemically treat the burlap to discourage root growth.
- It’s also a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft.
Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines and firs are soft wood and burn very quickly, but the heat is lost almost immediately. Burning the tree also may contribute to creosote buildup.