From picking out the perfect tree and adding decorations to finding special presents underneath them on Christmas morning, Christmas trees are a joyful part of the holiday season. While there has been much debate over the sustainability of real vs. fake trees, the experts agree that the most eco-friendly way to enjoy holiday greenery is to buy a real tree locally and recycle when you’re ready to move on to the new year. At By the Yard, we care deeply about sustainable practices, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorite, eco-friendly ways to dispose of your Christmas tree after the holidays.
1. Make A Haven For Animal Friends
Taking the ornaments and lights off the Christmas tree is not nearly as fun as putting them up, but repurposing your tree into a winter sanctuary for wildlife will reinvigorate those happy holiday feelings. Even in the cold of Minnesota, we have a number of bird friends who stick around for the long winter. Find a lovely spot on your property where you can nicely place and secure your tree. Take some time with your family over the last precious days of winter vacation to make bird feeder “ornaments” from suet and birdseed, sliced fruit, and popcorn. Hang them on the tree outside and watch as the tree that brought you Christmas joy provides a happy winter home for your local wildlife.
2. Make Your Own Mulch
Mulch is a great way to protect and improve the health of your soil, shrubs, trees, and flower beds. If you don’t have a wood chipper, rent or borrow one and make sure to follow proper safety precautions when using it. Strip the branches from the tree and put them in the chipper slowly. To mulch the trunk, split the trunk into manageable pieces. If you’re unable to tackle the trunk, it can be repurposed into a yard ornament or dried for firewood.
3. Try Replanting It!
Even after hanging out inside for a while, pine trees can be remarkably resilient plants. Find a large pot or planter box and fill it with potting soil. Pop the tree in, give it a nice drink of water, and bring it outside. It will provide a lovely habitat for birds, even if it doesn’t take root. You can also train climbing plants to grow up the trunk. If it does take root, it can be replanted in the spring once it has formed a healthy root structure.
4. Bring it to Water.
If you live near water, speak to your local conservation board to see if your Christmas tree is suitable to deposit in a nearby lake, pond, or stream. Bringing your tree to a natural waterway provides shelter for aquatic life as well as a renewing food source as algae begins to grow on it. Make sure to know the variety and area of origin of your tree and speak to a water steward or expert before disposing of your tree this way.
5. Donate Your Tree to a Garden Center
Your local garden center will be able to find a number of uses for your Christmas tree when you’re done with it. From composting to mulch to cuttings, your tree will provide a number of avenues for new plant life in the right hands, making the season of giving last through the new year. Many garden centers will even pick up your tree for you.
Celebrate Sustainability with By The Yard
If you give your Christmas tree new life in your garden or as a new decorative or living addition to your yard, we’d love to hear about it! Send us pictures of these or your own Christmas tree recycling ideas.
Give your property new life, too, with By the Yard. During the holiday season and all year round, By the Yard is dedicated to bringing patios, gardens and other outdoor spaces to life with sustainable, luxury outdoor furniture. Made from recycled plastics made with milk and water jugs, our patio furniture, planters, and arbors are handcrafted and built to last. Visit us today to craft a beautiful home outside your home.