Your holiday tree doesn’t have to end up at the local landfill at the end of the season—make the most of your tree by recycling it.
Give it to the birds. Stand your tree about 10 feet from the bird feeder or in a corner of your garden as a shelter for the birds. Decorate branches with fruit slices, pine cones smeared with peanut butter, seed cakes, and suet bags. To prevent the tree from blowing away in the winter winds, attach it to a stable support with wire or twine.
Create winter mulch. Cut the boughs off and use them as protective mulch around perennials and small shrubs. Remove brnches in the spring.
Compost or chip it. Many communities pick up discarded holiday trees, then compost or grind trees into wood chips for mulch. Contact your local government office.
Make potpourri. Dry the branches, then remove and crumble the needles. Mix needles with cinnamon sticks or whole close, place in a bowl, and enjoy?
Create a winter display. Arrange branches in a large container near your door, porch or other focal point. Add other decorations, such as dried grasses, bright dogwood, barberry, cones, and berries.
Make a windbreak. Use the tree to shield newly planted evergreens or young broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons.
Use as a trellis. In the spring, convert the trunk into a trellis for climbing vines or tomatoes.
Photo by Dave Walker