How can I reuse or recycle real Christmas trees?

christmas_tree.jpgThey probably still look nice and festive today but in a couple of days, they’ll be starting to look a bit past it – so what are the options?

Most local council tips provide Christmas tree recycling these days – take your tree along to your local household waste collection site and they’ll shred it for use as ground cover or the like.

But what if you can’t get it to a tip? Some councils pick them up from your home if you ask for collection but how can they be otherwise used around the home and garden?

We’ve covered tree branches in general in the past but are there any pine tree specific things?

(Beautiful photo by soultga)

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15 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle real Christmas trees?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    Put it outdoors in a place you can see from inside. Birds will love the cover and flock to it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not so much a use around the home/garden, but another alternative: Give it to a local zoo, elephants love them.

  3. jengod says:

    (1) If you have any plants that prefer acidic soil (azaleas, hollies, rhododendrons, camellias, blueberries, begonias, African violets, impatiens, amaryllis, aloes and so on), use the needles from the Christmas tree as mulch. Leave it out to dry for a while, then lop off the branches, and run your fingers along them to knock off the needles. Spread the needles inside the drip line of the acid-loving plants.

    (2) Once your tree is de-needled and de-branched, you might want to take the remaining branches and the trunk and use them to start a brush pile in your backyard. Brush piles are a great way to use woody yard refuse that’s too dense to compost well. Brush piles are outstanding parts of any would-be wildlife garden. All sorts of creatures use them as a refuge.

  4. Jacqui Walker says:

    You can plant your old Christmas tree in the ground and use it to grow sweet peas up.

  5. The garden centre we bought our real christmas tree from will give us a £5 voucher to spend in the garden centre if we return our tree to them for recycling by 20th January 2008.

  6. geslepen says:

    You can cut off the branches and lay them over your garden, and I cut up the trunk to make little disks of wood that are pretty and place them around my garden (I suppose they make good tables for the fairies).

  7. Burn it in a campfire. It makes great wood.

  8. Jessica says:

    I just cut off all the branches and leave it in my shop till its dry enough to work with.

  9. Alice says:

    Don’t have a whole perfectly healthy tree cut down for you every year for xmas! What a waste – imagine how much land it takes to grow them all.

    I grow one in a pot so I can bring it indoors over xmas for a few weeks, and then take it back out to sit on the patio for the rest of the year.

  10. twinks says:

    Oh I can’t help but chuckle as I send you this. I am going to drive my neighbours batty with ‘_____tries’this summer. Striped bare except for good size branches I plant them in my yard for my latest ‘try’….PAN-try, BASKET-try, shoe tree etc etc. The game is endless and they have to figure out the visual puns. Not exactly a big recycle project, but it’s entertaining and puts good use to lots of silly old things.

  11. erika says:

    if you strip the branches down to about 3-5 inches, paint it and put a clear coat on it you could us it as a coat rack or towel rack, maybe use the tree stand as a base or make your own.

  12. mormonsim says:

    for heavens sake by a fake one! The energy it takes to buy these is nothing compared to what it takes to buy a real one every year. THe fakes are less prone to fire too. If you miss the pine scent, use needles from the prior year and boil them the way you would a cinnamon stick to get a frech baked smell.
    The fake ones look very real now so I don’t see why you wouldn’t use that instead.


    i kept my christmas tree from last year…it is completely bare. I spray painted it white, decorated it with clear lights, gold balls, white netting, and gold sheer garland. It looks beautiful! Is this a risk at all. My lights are minis and don’t burn very hot. I didn’t think of any problems all the while I was preparing the tree, but now that I am done, and loving the look of it, the thought just popped in my head that this may not be such a good idea. Any opinions anyone?

  14. Rachel says:

    I want to dispell a few myths about real vs fake. Real is always more eco friendly, as a living tree is a habitat in its lifetime, reduces CO2 in the atmosphere replacing it with oxygen, many tree plantations are local (as opposed to factories in china), they are grown by forests which are managed sustainably, and can be recycled and chipped, and if you buy one from a tree rental company, where the trees are grown from seed in pots they live on year on year, either in your garden or other people’s homes. Also using LED lights reduces fire hazads and saves 80% of energy.

    for some great tree recycling projects check out the work of london based designers Fabien Cappello who makes custom stools from your old tree trunk and Thomas Hatfield who uses green banches to make sledges.

    failing that, save the pine needles and use in place of dill in cooking or make a douglas fir martini!

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