Find a Purpose for your Old Christmas Tree

Jan 03, 2022


Now that the Christmas season has come to a close, it’s time to pack up the garland and take down the lights, but don’t throw away the tree just yet! A dead or dying tree still has plenty of usefulness, especially for your garden pursuits. If you are still recovering from the holidays, though, no worries! Your tree can be stashed in your yard for later use — even if it’s months later.
 
There are a number of ways to repurpose your Christmas tree in your garden or home this year. In fact, you may become so inspired that you end up asking your neighbors for their trees, too!
 
  1. Compost your tree
The most obvious way to put your old tree to good use is to add it to your compost pile and take advantage of all that organic matter. Cut your tree into smaller chunks and let it sit until the branches become dry and brittle and the pine needles fall off. Because brown materials are harder to gather in winter, use these materials as a carbon source for your compost bin to supplement the vegetable scraps and eggshells from your kitchen. By adding brown and green materials in the correct 2:1 ratio, your compost will break down faster and will be less likely to smell bad or turn sludgy.
 
  1. Insulate perennials with the boughs
Cut off the boughs from your tree and lay them over your perennial beds to protect them from snow and frost heaving. The branches work as a natural mulch by adding nutrients into the soil for spring and are an excellent alternative to straw.
 
  1. Use the wood chips in your garden
Wood chips are an excellent choice for mulching your beds, smothering weeds, or filling in garden paths. They effectively maintain your soil’s food web and control weeds in your garden by blocking the sunlight while still allowing water and air to circulate through. If you don’t have a wood chipper of your own, consider coordinating with a few of your neighbors to rent one for a day.
 
  1. Create a bird sanctuary
After taking the decorations off your tree, move your tree outdoors and leave it upright in its stand. Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, and even add a birdhouse or two. For an extra treat, hang pinecones coated in peanut butter! Once spring arrives and the birds have access to plenty of other food sources, you can then compost your tree or use it for another project.
 
  1. Shelter fish in your pond
If you own a pond and your tree is chemical-free, toss it into the water to improve the aquatic habitat for wintering fish. Christmas trees provide additional brush that gives fish a resting area, shade, and a place to hide from predators. As the woody plant tissue decomposes in the water, it will release nutrients that feed the growth of algae, which in turn boosts the pond’s food web. Typically, Christmas trees are tied to cement blocks and sunk to the bottom.
 
  1. Cut wood discs for crafting projects
There are countless ways to use wood discs in your next DIY craft project. Simply trim all the branches from your tree and cut the trunk into slices of various thicknesses depending on the sizes you need. Consider using the wood discs to create coasters, magnets, ornaments, wall art, trivets, thumbtacks, or jewelry. You can even use them to edge flower beds or walkways to add interest to your outdoor landscape.
 
These are just a few ways to give new life to your old Christmas tree, but the possibilities are endless. Whether you need more advice on composting your tree, a few bird feeders for your sanctuary, or a good chainsaw for slicing off those wood discs, your local Co-op is here to help!
 
For more content like this, check out the latest issue of the Cooperator.

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