the recycle files…
doing something with that tree

Christmas Tree Compost

Christmas is almost here, and it’s that time again. The time when anyone who opted for a real tree starts looking at it and wondering “just what am I going to do after the holidays?” It’s enough to make anyone miss out on some holiday joy, but no more. We’ve got a collection of eco-friendly ways to deal with your tree. We can’t help you with the actual work, sorry!

Recycle – check if your community has a tree recycling or mulching program. It’s possibly the easiest way to deal with your tree.

Bird sanctuary – once you’ve stripped the tree of all decorations, move it outside for the winter. Leave it in its stand, or securely tie it to a fence, post, or other upright then fill the tree with bird treats like bags of suet, or birdseed.

Fish food – if you have a large pond available, submerge your tree. In deep water, old trees transform into habitats for fish and aquatic insects. In shallow water, they can act as erosion control.

Mulch – take the DIY approach and chip your tree into bits to use around the base of bushes or along paths.

Mulch, two – use smaller branches as is to “mulch” perennials and protect them from frost.

Compost – layer smaller branches in the bottom of an empty compost bin, crisscrossing them until they’re about 4 to 6 inches high. Then start adding in your kitchen scraps, garden trimmings and other compostables. The layer of braches will help promote air circulation and will break down over time.

Trellis – save the branches for spring, then “plant” them in the ground to provide support for peas and beans. Crisscross the branches so they lock together and support each other.

Beach bound – some beach communities offer a unique way to recycle your tree as part of a dune restoration project. Check to see if there is one going on near you.

Get crafty – if you’re artistically inclined, you can make all sorts of crafty items from the branches and trunk, and the needles are excellent mixed in to holiday inspired potpourri.

Fire starters – we don’t advise burning lots of pine in your fireplace because it’s a very messy wood, but… you can tie handfuls of small twigs and branches into bundles and let them dry out completely to use as handy fire starters for your fireplace or outdoor firepit.

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