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3 Ways to Recycle Christmas Trees in the Garden

By: Garden Gate staff
If you're not sure what to do with your live tree after the holidays — put it to work! Here are three ways to recycle a live Christmas tree in the garden.

Put your Christmas tree to work in the garden

Ever feel a little melancholy when you see all those tossed-out Christmas trees lining the streets after the holidays? You won't have to send the tree out with the trash when you use one of these great recycling ideas in your garden!

repurpose-your-live-christmas-tree-mulch:Place evergreen branches over your garden anytime the ground is frozen, from late November to midwinter, after you’re done enjoying your Christmas tree indoors.

Mulch tender plants with recycled Christmas tree boughs

Gardeners know how important mulch, like straw, hay or crisp oak leaves, is for protecting plants through a harsh winter. But evergreen branches add a little extra punch to your plants’ protection. Just lay the branches in a crisscross pattern over tender perennial plants. Weave the stems together to keep them from blowing away on a windy day.

Like other types of mulch, the branches moderate the soil temperature fluctuations, keeping everything nice and cold until it’s really time to warm up. Piled on top of other mulches, such as leaves, they’ll prevent the bottom layer of mulch from blowing away. And branches catch and hold snow, which is a good insulator. Branches are rigid and won’t pack down and smother the plants they’re protecting. Instead, air can circulate so the crowns don’t stay too wet and rot. Place evergreen branches over your garden anytime the ground is frozen, from late November to midwinter, after you’re done enjoying your Christmas tree indoors. Pick them up when it starts to warm up in spring.

repurpose-your-live-christmas-tree-for-the-birds: Repurpose your live christmas tree in the garden by leaving it out for the birds.

Save your Christmas tree for the birds

Your old Christmas tree is the perfect winter gift for your feathered friends. Anchor the tree securely in a deep bucket of sand. The branches are enough to provide cover from the winter weather, but if you want to add treats, strings of popcorn will be popular with birds, or you could put mesh bags of shelled peanuts out, too. Cut-up apples and oranges are special treats for birds and squirrels. Hang the treats on the branches, but push them toward the middle of the tree so birds won’t be frightened by any swinging ornaments that move with the wind.

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Use a Christmas tree as a trellis

In spring, cut off all the twiggy growth, getting down to the “bones” of the tree. Prop it in the vegetable garden, where you can plants your cucumbers or pole beans. Train the plants up the tree, and the fruit will hang from the branches like ornaments. Who says you can’t have Christmas in July?

Published: Dec. 19, 2018
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020

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