The end of the holiday season doesn't mean it has to be the end for your real Christmas tree. Even though real Christmas trees have a limited lifespan in our homes, they are biodegradable and can be recycled and reused in ways that benefit your landscape and garden as mulch and other purposes. Below are some clever ways to put that once majestic tree to use instead of just tossing it in a landfill.
Garden and flower beds love mulch and your Christmas tree can provide that beneficial material in two different ways.
- The easiest way to mulch the Christmas tree is to remove the branches and shake off the dead needles. The needles dry quickly and decompose slowly. They are an excellent source of moisture and they are mold free.
- The other way to mulch your tree is by putting it through a wood chipper. Many cities have some kind of mulching facility and you can search for it online or by calling your municipality's administrative office for information. This good organic mulch will help suppress weeds, protect flowerbeds and gardens, retain soil moisture, and regulate soil temperature. This is a great way to extend the life of the tree rather than clogging a landfill. You can also rent or borrow a wood chipper if you cannot take your tree to any facilities in your city.
After removing all plastic, tinsel, and other non-recyclable ornaments, take your Christmas tree outside and leave it in the stand or firmly place it in the ground (you can always add other forms of support). You can attract birds by decorating the branches with strung popcorn, seed balls, suet, and apple or orange slices. The majority of these supplies can be found at bird and pet supply shops in your area. You can also smear the branches with peanut butter as well. The birds will love it!
Shelter for fish
If you have a private fish pond, you can drop your tree into the water which makes a great habitat for fish and aquatic insects. Do not dump the tree at the lake without checking with your local city first.
DIY Christmas tree coasters
The main trunk of the tree can easily be turned into a “do it yourself Christmas tree coaster! Before you cut anything, remember to always be careful and wear safety glasses. Cut slices around ½ to ⅓ inch thick. Now smooth the cut with sandpaper, add a wood stain to the surface of the cut, and seal the cuts with a thin coat of polyurethane. Let the coasters dry out and then add a layer of felt to the bottom of the coasters to prevent the coasters from scratching any surface area in your home.
Edge your borders
Piggybacking on the DIY Christmas tree coasters, you can cut off all the branches of your tree and use the limb as a natural border for garden or flower beds. You can also cut the trunk up into smaller limbs for more borders.
One final thing we would like to mention. DO NOT cut the tree up and use it as firewood for indoor use. Dry Christmas trees burn very quickly and the flames and smoke will pour out very quickly and can cause damage to your chimney.
For more info on future Christmas Tree care visit the National Christmas Tree Association at http://christmastree.org/.