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What to Do With Your Dying Christmas Tree

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso

Christmas is over and it’s time to take down the tree. But what do you do with old Christmas trees? There are various ways to dispose of your dying tree—it all depends on your preferences! We’ve gathered ideas that will help you repurpose, recycle, or just get the thing out of sight. One thing to keep in mind; the longer you take to remove the tree from your home, the bigger the fire hazard. Each day a tree remains is another day of moisture loss that can ignite in seconds. Parched trees can also be messy, as their needles start to dry up and fall off. Pro tip: sweep up fallen needles with a broom; loose needles can clog up and damage your vacuum cleaner.

Kick It to the Curb

Most municipalities offer services for picking up and recycling Christmas trees. Often times your tree will be used for mulch and soil around the community. Check in with your local yard waste management program and arrange a tree pickup. Your town or city might have guidelines to abide by, such as chopping up the tree into sections, so make sure to clarify ahead of time.

Using a plastic tree bag or large blanket, wrap up the tree before taking it outdoors to prevent needles and sap from making a mess inside your house. Make sure it’s not obstructing roads or sidewalks once on the curb.

Make Mulch

Make much from needles! Pine needles dry out quickly and decompose slowly, making them ideal for mulch. This moisture- and mold-free material is excellent for gardens and crops.

Chip It

Feed the tree through a chipper to make wood chips to spread around shrubs. Wood chips combat weeds and upon decomposing release nutrients into the soil. If you don’t own a wood chipper or don’t have a neighbor that could lend you one, you can rent one for the day.

Protect Perennials

Trim the boughs from the tree and use them as natural insulation for perennial plants and flowers. Lay the pieces over flower beds to keep them protected against snow and frost this season.

Fuel the Fire

A drying tree makes great fire fodder – as long as it’s contained in a fire pit outdoors. The highly-flammable branches should not be ignited in a fireplace, for creosote build-up is hazardous.

Edge a Garden

Shave off the branches chop up the trunk for wooden slices that can line a garden. Cut pieces into discs about 2 inches thicks.

Wildlife Sanctuary

Create a resting post or feeder for your animal neighbors. Anchor the tree in the backyard or garden and attach garlands or sachets with snacks such as dried fruit, popcorn, and stale bread. A variety of birds, squirrels, and other critters will be visiting daily. Be sure that all ornaments, tinsel, hooks, and other decorations are removed from the tree. In time it will become more brittle and break away.

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso
Dani is House One’s assistant editor. As a Norwalk, CT native, Dani graduated from UConn with a BA in Digital Media and Design. This millennial longs for the days of All That, Tamagotchis, and Dunkaroos. When she’s not working, she’s hanging outdoors, playing with her dogs, or watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

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