Christmas is over and it’s time to take down the tree. After removing the lights and ornaments, many homeowners throw the tree to the curb for landfill pickup, but this is a missed recycling opportunity. There are a variety of beneficial landscaping uses for your tree after the holiday season has passed.
Trees that have been well-watered hold onto needles and leaves, which can serve as adequate mulch cover to protect landscape plants from frost. To use your tree as mulch, cut branches off and lay the boughs around plants that need protection from winter weather. This mulching strategy can make the difference in keeping perennials alive and thriving through the cold months. Many cities also offer tree drop-off locations for mulching, and some even allow residents to come back and pick up this mulch for use in their yards.
Compost systems can always use additional brown fuel like dried out Christmas trees. Adding brown fuel—woody materials, dried leaves, paper, etc.—to your kitchen and garden scraps is essential to maintaining a healthy balance of nutrients in your compost pile. A proper quantity of brown fuel also alleviates the bad smell that comes from an overabundance of rotting materials. If you don’t have a compost pile, your old Christmas tree can become the perfect base. New compost piles need a layer of thin branches at the bottom to improve air flow for the decomposition process. Trimmed down branches, stacked about six inches high, work as a great base for any pile or bin. After establishing the tree branch floor, a mix of brown and green compost materials can be added on top.
If your backyard has lots of trees and wildlife, you can simply leave your tree to the side for birds and mammals, such as rabbits, to use for shelter in the following winter months. The trunk of the tree can be used as garden edging or support for vining plants.
Christmas trees aren’t cheap and with all of the post-holiday uses they can serve, why kick them to the curb?