Upcycling or Disposing Your Fresh-Cut Christmas Tree

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There were a lot of fresh-cut trees sold this year as Christmas trees and now that the holidays are over those of us who purchased one need to find something to do with them. Here are a few suggestions for recycling those trees.

A suggestion, I found to be intriguing was to place it outside and use it as a bird feeder. Leave the tree in the stand or take it out of the stand and burry the trunk in the soil so the tree is free standing outside. Then place some pinecones painted in peanut butter and rolled in birdseed on the tree as decorations. Mesh bags of birdseed would also work. The birds will come to the tree to feed and find refuge in the branches.

Eventually that tree is going to dry up and it will need to go somewhere. Before you get rid of it, you could strip some of the needles off and use them as potpourri to keep the house or closet smelling like evergreen for a while longer. You could then cut the tree up and use it as firewood to keep the house warm on a cold winter day. While cutting the tree up, if the trunk didn’t split, you can cut a few wafers of wood from the trunk to use as coaters on the coffee table. When you are finished burning the tree, scoop the ashes up and use them as fertilizer in the garden or around trees and shrubs. The ash will have potassium in it to fertilize the plants. If you already have a soil with a high pH this might not be the best option as the ash also has a liming affect, raising the soil pH.

If you have a fish pond nearby, check with the owner of the fish pond to see if it would be ok for you to toss the tree into the pond. The tight branches of most Christmas trees make for good hiding places for small fish. After a few months, algae will begin to grow on the branches, providing food for the little fish as well.

For those who don’t have a fish pond, but maybe have some woods in the back yard that haven’t been improved, throw the tree in the woods to create a brush pile. Throwing a few trees in a pile creates a nice habitat for small animals to take refuge, hide from predators, or simply get out of the sun or wind for a little while. Be kind to the animals around you.

For those making a trip to the beach in January, there are two drop off locations for undecorated Christmas trees. Be sure to remove all the lights, decorations and most importantly any tinsel. These trees can be dropped off at Fort Macon State Park or at the corner of Islander and Emerald Drives in Emerald Isle. The trees will be placed on near or around the dunes to catch the sand as the wind blows. This keeps the dunes in place when we have severe weather beating on the shore.

If none of these options works for you, check with your municipality to see if they will pick up the tree with yard waste. Many municipalities will pick up the trees, chip them up and either compost them or use them as mulch in parks and around building. Landfill sites that accept yard waste may also accept undecorated Christmas trees, but you may need to check with them to see if the tree needs to be cut up first.

Who knew there were so many ways to recycle a dried up, fresh cut Christmas tree? Happy New Year!