It might be the end of the Christmas season, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of your Christmas tree! This year, instead of chucking your tree out to the curb, choose an environmentally-friendly way to extend the life of your tree. Here are some ideas:
1. Mulch it!
Why waste a perfectly good tree when you can get organic mulch out of it? There are so many reasons to mulch around your garden and flower beds, so let us count the ways: mulching helps the soil maintain moisture, protects the plants in the winter, and helps with weed control. Organic much also boosts soil health by breaking down and contributing to soil fertility over time. What’s more – mulch made from pine trees repel unwanted pests such as ticks, gnats, and fleas. Time to break out the shredder! But remember: be sure to wear safety gear, including goggles and gloves.
2. Use the tree as an animal habitat.
Winter is a tough time for the critters in your back yard. You can help them out by placing your Christmas tree in a secluded part of the yard or in the forest. Your Christmas tree will now become a safe haven for animals during the harsh winter months.
3. Turn it into a giant bird feeder!
When you’re done with your tree, give it to the birds! Christmas may be over for humans, but it’s just begun for your feathered friends. Place the tree outside on a stand and decorate it with “ornaments” that birds will love! Stock it full with bird feeders and crafts made of bird food.
Some great ideas: string a garland made out of popcorn, dried oranges, and cranberries for birds to feast on. Turn an orange into a hanging basket and fill it with birdseed. The possibilities are endless, and it’s a great winter craft to do with the kids.
4. Turn the pine needles into potpourri.
Get your house smelling fresh and clean well before spring cleaning! Simply cut off a branch or two of the Christmas tree. Gather oranges, cranberries, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and put them all in a small pot over the stove, all submerged in water. Simmer over low heat for as long as you want! Add more water as water evaporates. What’s great about stovetop potpourri is that it humidifies your house while making everything smell amazing!
5. Begin a compost pile.
There’s no better time than the present to begin your own compost pile. Compost is called “black gold”, and for good reason. It adds vital nutrients to the soil to make plants healthy for years to come. So how can your old Christmas tree help start a compost pile? While you can’t exactly compost wood, branches make the perfect base for your compost pile because they allow airflow, allowing organic matter to aerate and break down faster.
6. Use the trunk as support in the garden.
A Christmas tree means you get extra wood for around the garden! Saw off all the branches and use the Christmas tree trunk for garden bed edging or for supporting vining and climbing plants. It’s a beautiful rustic touch to the garden that you’ll be glad you kept around!
7. Use it for firewood!
Is there anything better than spending a relaxing evening out by the fire pit? Before you go out to the store to buy more wood, chop your Christmas tree into its very own wood pile! You can also use the branches as kindling, of course!
8. Toss branches in your fish tank!
According to LifeHack, you can use Christmas tree branches as plant life in your fish tank. Your fishies may not know it’s Christmas, but they do know a good tree branch when they see one. From LifeHack’s website, “In the wild, many branches fall into ponds and lakes, offering protection to the fish in the water. You can put the smaller branches into the tank to give your fish a place to hide and relax. Make sure the branches are fully clean before you put them in the tank.”
This year, make a new year’s resolution to recycle your Christmas tree in a way that’s good for your home and garden. Already had your Christmas tree picked up by the trash guys? No worries – these are good ideas to remember for years to come. A healthy garden – and a happy gardener – stems from making the most out of what you have.