Reusing Your Christmas Tree After Christmas

Sad end for a family’s Christmas tree: tossed out on the sidewalk!

When the holidays come to an end, there isn’t much left to do but take down the garlands and decorations and toss the Christmas tree into the trash… or at least that’s what so many people seem to think. Actually, though, there are several ways of reusing a cut Christmas tree.

Here are a few of them:

Reusing Your Christmas Tree in Winter

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    Stand it up outdoors as a decorative bird shelter.

    Stand the tree up outside for the remainder of winter. You could leave it in its stand or stick it in a snowbank, for example. Not only will it look great for the rest of the cold season, but it will serve as a shelter for birds during periods of intense cold.

  • Bonify your “bird tree-shelter” by handing balls of suet covered in bird seeds or other foods birds like to eat from its branches. That way i will serve not only as a shelter but also as full-service bird hotel.
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    Use the branches as a protective mulch.

    Cut off its branches and use them to cover the more fragile plants in your flower bed, perhaps those of borderline hardiness or ones recently planted. The branches will act as a winter mulch to help to protect the plant against the cold of January and from alternating bouts of freezing and thawing (often more harmful to plants than extreme cold alone) and also to help catch more snow: snow offers excellent insulation against cold.

  • Cut the trunk into sections for use as firewood.

Recycling Your Christmas Tree Come Spring

  • If you have access to a chipper/shredder, reduce the branches and trunk to chips and use them as mulch.
  • If you decide to dispose of the tree, at least make sure that it is properly recycled, a service offered by most municipalities. If yours does not recycle Christmas trees left out on pickup days, find out where you can bring your tree so it can be recycled into mulch or compost.

20170103G.jpgThere you go! When you apply the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to your Christmas tree, it’s good for your immediate environment… and for the whole planet!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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