With the Christmas season over and the new year bursting forth, it is time to figure out what to do with that now not-so-beautiful Christmas tree that is shedding needles all over your floor. If you have been accustomed to dragging your dead tree to the curb and waiting for the trash pick up, why not try something different this year that is environmentally friendly and creative? Here are some ideas.
Instead of tossing your tree in the trash, take it to a local recycling center where your tree will take on new life, probably as mulch. Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be reused or recycled. There are sometimes curbside recycling pickup options available, so be sure to check to see what might be available locally.
Use it for firewood
If you have a fire pit, why not use your tree to keep the warmth of the season burning longer? It is perfectly fine to cut your tree into kindling for an outdoor fire as long as you are sure to remove all ornaments and burn only dry wood. Experts warn, however, not to use the wood in your indoor fireplace or wood stove. Creosote, a hazardous chemical, can build up on trees and cause fires to burn very hot, which can be a fire hazard. Once you have burned the tree, dump the cooled ash in your garden or compost pile. Wood ash is loaded with potassium and lime, along with other beneficial nutrients that help plants thrive. Ashes also help to keep insects at bay.
The branches of your old Christmas tree make great mulch for your garden beds. Get together with some folks in your neighborhood and rent a small chipper, if you don’t have one. Chip your tree along with any other branches you have laying around your yard. The needles are also great for your soil as they will help with moisture retention. Don’t forget to follow all safety rules when using a chipper.
Give some branches to your fish
Fish will love some branches from your tree as they make an excellent fish habitat. Simply pull off some smaller branches and drop them into your fish tank or fishpond. According to Lifehack,
“In the wild, many branches fall into ponds and lakes, offering protection to the fish in the water. You can put the smaller branches into the tank to give your fish a place to hide and relax. Make sure the branches are fully clean before you put them in the tank.”
Make organic edging
Once you are finished with your Christmas tree, you can cut the trunk into discs to use for aromatic pathway or garden edging. Toss smaller branches into your compost pile where they will decompose to add valuable nutrients to home compost.
Use branches to protect tender plants in your garden
If you live in a cold climate, you may have some tender perennials in your garden. Use branches from your Christmas trees placed on the ground beneath delicate perennials to protect them from frost and cold weather. Fine gardening says,
“Pine boughs or branches cut from the Christmas tree …make an excellent, airy mulch for young hellebores or any fledgling evergreen perennial because they help moderate temperature changes and offer protection from the winter wind and sun.”
Make some crafts
Use the wood from your tree to make coasters or Christmas decorations for next year. The needles are an excellent and highly aromatic addition to potpourri. your home will carry that fresh Christmas fragrance well into the new year.
There you have it; there are lots of great and purposeful things that you can do with your Christmas tree this year!