Real holiday Christmas trees can be recycled
When the holiday season is over, don’t throw your real Christmas tree in the rubbish or set it on the curb. Go organic. A real Christmas tree is biodegradable, which means it can be easily reused or recycled for mulch, compost and other organic purposes. Here are some recycling options and tips on what to do with your tree after the holiday. Every community is different, but in general, you have these options:
Give it to the birds
Place the recycled Christmas tree in the garden or backyard in its holder outdoors for the winter, where it can provide food and shelter for wild birds. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Important: Be sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel parts are gone). Better yet, place the Christmas tree close to your normal bird feeder or suspend bird delicacies from the branches—like nylon bags of suet (animal fat with seeds available from stores) or a small portion of wood or heavy cardboard smeared with a birdseed and peanut butter—it will attract birds and feed them, too.
Ultimately (in about a year) the limbs will become brittle long after the needles fall off, and you can easily snap the limbs apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
Create fish feeders:
Sunk into private fish ponds (with permission, naturally), they create an excellent sanctuary and feeding area for fish. Sink your recycled organic specimen in a pond in deep water, the Christmas trees develop into habitats for fish and marine insects.
Compost or chip it
Tree recycling and mulching programs are a fast-growing organic trend in communities today. Check with your jurisdictional authority’s trash office to discover if your town has a singular day for picking up Christmas trees or a drop-off spot where you can take them after the holiday where they will be composted or ground into wood chips.
Often you can go to the municipal compost site in spring and get free compost and/or wood chip mulch for your garden. Of course, you won’t recognize the chips/compost from your tree, but you can feel good knowing that it’s helping other gardeners have healthier landscapes and you have kept perfectly good organic matter from clogging a landfill.
Make your own mulch
Cut off the boughs and put them on the earth similar to a blanket to shield plants that are vulnerable to windburn, plants that are slightly hardy in your region, and plants that could arise early and be gripped by a late spring frost, such as early developing perennials or fall-planted pansies.
Soil erosion barriers
In shallow wetlands, a Christmas tree will act as barriers to sand and soil erosion especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation controll—though currently only the State of Louisiana has a tree-based restoration project in place. For more information, read how these holiday decorations are helping the sand dunes in New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy.
Paths for hiking trails:
Check to see if your county uses the shredded seasonal greenery as a free, renewable and natural path organic material that meets mutually the environment and the desires of hikers. If you live in a rural location with paths, consider using a recycled Christmas tree like this.
Turn it into a trellis
Move the used greenery to a corner of your yard and in the spring set it up in your garden as a trellis for peas or beans.
Plan to plant for next Christmas
Think balled-and-burlapped when you purchase next year’s seasonal focal point and you’ll be able to plant it after the holidays.
Be sure and watch the above video “Time to recycle Christmas Trees”.
Source information for this article was from organicgardening and realchristmastrees and the author.