There’s nothing like a real Christmas tree for making the festive season magical, sparkling with lights and filling the air with the fragrance of pine needles. Each year, more than 8 million of us put up a real Christmas tree in our homes, so once Christmas is over and it’s time to take down the tree for another year, it’s essential to dispose of it sustainably so that it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Here are a few ideas on the best way to recycle your real Christmas tree.
Best ways to recycle your Christmas tree
Check whether your local council has a Christmas tree collection service – most do, and it’s one of the best ways to dispose of your tree. Check the date of your collection and leave your tree out on time so that it doesn’t lie around on the pavement for days getting in everyone’s way. Councils will shred the trees to make wood chippings that can be used on paths or mulch in local parks and woodland. If your council doesn’t have a collection service, check whether you can drop your tree off at your local recycling centre.
If you have your own garden shredder, cut the branches off your tree and shred them to use as mulch around acid-loving trees and shrubs such as Japanese maples, heathers and blueberry bushes. A thick layer of this mulch makes a good weed suppressant and also helps keep moisture in the soil.
Once you’ve stripped the branches of your tree, chop up the trunk and pile the logs up to create a wildlife shelter in an unused spot in your garden. All sorts of useful garden worms and insects will be happy to take up residence, and your garden will reap the benefits.
Here’s an unusual idea for your Christmas tree – why not take it to the zoo? Obviously, this isn’t the answer for everyone, but it’s surprising how much use zoo animals can get out of an old Christmas tree. Elephants will happily eat the foliage, and other animals like chimpanzees and meerkats will enjoy exploring among the branches for food hidden by the keepers. If you live near a zoo or wildlife park, check whether they are interested in having your tree once Christmas is over.
If you bought a potted tree, you can put it outside in its pot and treat it like all your other container plants. Water and feed it for the rest of the year, and with a bit of care, you’ll be able to bring it inside again next Christmas. Alternatively, if you have space in your garden, you could plant it out and let it grow into a tree.
Once the Christmas tree is down, it’s time to get started on all those New Year’s gardening resolutions, and we’re here to help with plants, tools and advice. Visit us and get your gardening year off to a great start!