When the Christmas season is over and you are facing disposal of your Christmas tree, why not do something better for the environment this year? This is a great opportunity to be creative and recycle your tree while at the same time setting a good example for your kids (and neighbors) of better ways to dispose of the tree other than sending it to a landfill.
Buy a living tree. Avoid the hassle of tree disposal by purchasing a live tree. Don't have room in your yard to plant yet another living Christmas tree, you may say? Then donate the tree to a community park.
Turn your tree into mulch. Some cities have programs that will chip your tree into mulch that you can then use around your landscape plants. Wood mulch is iffy for your vegetable garden, since it takes so long to decompose; but that very problem makes it a good mulch to use around your landscape plants since it will stick around for a while.
Don't need mulch? See if your city will chip the trees for use around the landscaping of public buildings. Still a better idea than the landfill.
If your community does not have a chipping option, check with your local garden club for recommendations of where you can borrow or rent a chipper. While small garden chippers won't work for the entire tree, at least you can chop up the branches.
Create firewood. If you have chipped up the branches and are now stuck with the trunk, save it for next year to use in your fireplace (or give it to a friend who has a fireplace if you don't have one). Since it is never advisable to burn green wood, let it age for at least a year before using it.
Invite the birds. Another creative idea is to nail your tree to some 2-by-4-inch lumber and turn it into a bird feeding station in your backyard. Hang "ornaments" made of suet and seeds, and enjoy the show. Birds appreciate popcorn strands too. After the needles have completely dropped, use the branches for next year's kindling, or toss in your compost pile. Recycle the stump for firewood.
Whatever you do with your Christmas tree, please don't dump it in the woods or on the roadside. Yes, it's biodegradable, but it's an eyesore and against the law in most states.
Linda is a landscape architect and certified arborist in southern Arizona. With over 20 years experience in landscape design, she also has a passion for all plants and gardening. As a freelance writer for a number of websites, she has produced hundreds of articles on plants, plant care, and design.