Christmas is over, the egg nog has gone off, the relatives finally departed... and you're left packing up the lights and ornaments and wondering what to do with the Christmas tree. Put it out by the curb and hope that the garbage men will take it away. Not likely. Put it in a corner of the yard and believe it may break down. Not in your lifetime. So what?
Many cities and counties have recycling services to put your old Christmas tree to new life as a wildlife sanctuary, on a sand dune to protect the beach, chipped for mulch or as a bird feeder. Look below on this page for both general tips and options specific to your local area:
After the holidays, donâ€™t throw your natural tree away! Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays:
Removing the tree: The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up! You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.
Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check below on this page or with your local department of public works for information.
Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at beaches and on river beds.
Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds trees make excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.
Bird feeders: 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 and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.
Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas (It's a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late Fall while the soil is still soft. )NOTE: Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates
Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Pines, firs and other evergreens have a high Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup.