After Christmas we find ourselves left with a bare tree that’s been sitting in our house throughout December. So what do we do with the tree now that the rest of our decorations are down?
We will offer some advice on this blog post.
No Longer a Tree
If you have decided that you no longer want to keep your tree, or even plant it outside, there are a number of other ways to use your tree in the garden.
Turn it into mulch
Unwanted Christmas trees can be used to make a great natural mulch to be used in your garden. Using mulch can prepare your soil for the heavy rain to come, a layer of mulch will help reduce the amount of erosion.
To turn your tree into mulch you will usually require a shredder. If you, or noone you know, has one you can lend, you can look into renting one. We recommend gathering any other by products from your garden that can also be shredded at the same time. The trunk itself may be too thick to shred, however, when it is sawn up and dried out, it makes great logs for the fire.
Use it as compost
Unwanted trees can make great compost for your garden (minus the trunk) just shred it down as much as possible and add it to the compost heap. Be aware that the needles can take a while to compost as they can be quite rubbery.
Use the needles to increase grip
Sprinkle your tree’s needles across slippery or prone-to-frost pathways.While it won’t completely remove the risk of ice, it will add some extra grip. Or sprinkle them on muddy areas to increase the grip there.
Use as an animal habitat
Many animals struggle with the harsh winter months. Turning your tree into an animal habitat can help them to survive this difficult time. Cutting branches off and creating little dens in the corners of your garden, can give smaller animals some refuge in the bad weather. And smaller scattered branches mean that birds can use these for their nests.
Create a bird feeder
Keeping your tree in the pot to ensure that it stays upright, you can decorate it with treats for the birds in your garden to enjoy. Some ideas include:
– Halve an orange and scoop out the flesh. Attach three or four strings through little holes in the side of the orange to create a hanging basket shape. Fill it with bird seed.
– Attach string to a pine cone, making a loop. Dip the cone in peanut butter then cover it in bird seed.
– Thread popcorn onto string using a needle and use it as ‘tinsel’.
– Mix suet with plenty of bird seed, squish it into cookie cutters and push the shapes out onto greaseproof paper. Partly unwind a paperclip and embed it in each shape to create a hook for hanging. Pop your shapes in the freezer to set.
– You can halve and hang up old fruit by attaching string – even if it is bruised or partly rotten. Apples, pears and other fruit will be appreciated by the birds.
Planting Christmas Trees
Environmental Charity Greenpeace encourages people to plant their Christmas trees after use. There are a number of real trees that are perfect for an added feature in your garden. So why not give it a go this year?
Firstly you will need to ensure that your tree has its root ball intact. The best root balls will be on those trees that have been raised in a pot as they will not have had the same damage as those that have been dug up and potted.
When removing your tree from the home, try to allow it adjustment time, so moving it into a garage or a green house before the great outdoors will allow it to adjust to the colder temperatures. During this time, ensure that it has plenty of water to keep it healthy. When it comes to planting day, ensure that you choose a warmer and dry day. Dig your hole to slightly wider than your pot. But no deeper. Your roots should sit no deeper than they did in the pot. Saturate your roots before you remove them from the pot, this will hydrate them and make the move easier on them. Fill the remainder of the hole with as much organic mulch as possible. Ensure that the solid around your tree is kept as moist as possible until the roots have taken hold. And you have one planted tree!
If you want the tree out of your home and garden, you can always recycle it. Many garden centres are happy to take old trees and will turn them into wood chippings. There are also conservation schemes throughout the UK that welcome old trees, speak to your local council to find out what schemes are running in your area. You may find some nature reserves or wildlife centres that will be happy to take them off your hands.