The New Year presents many households with the same question; how do you dispose of your real Christmas Tree now it’s time to pack the decorations away? Fortunately, there are options of disposal that can benefit your garden and the wildlife that inhabits it, and ensures your tree has a positive effect on the environment.
Christmas trees can create useful wood chip mulch when broken down by a chipper machine, or by hand, although this is more labour intensive. The mulch produced is ideal for spreading on beds and borders in spring to help retain moisture in the soil, protect the soil from frosts, and suppress troublesome weeds. Wood chip mulch can also be used to create or add to paths. A finer mulch can be produced from Christmas tree needles and is perfect to use for plants that prefer acidic conditions, such as Camellia, Rhododendron, Azalea, Calluna and Pieris to name a few. Simply scatter the needles around the bases of acid-loving plants, and they will enjoy the benefits of added nutrients (calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen), and improved moisture retention without the soil becoming compact. Christmas tree needles can be collected from wreaths too!
As an alternative to creating mulch, the branches from your Christmas tree can be chopped from the trunk and placed on overwintering perennials to protect them from frosts, and then removed when new growth appears in spring. Or, perhaps consider cutting up your Christmas tree into short lengths and stacking it in a pile to create shelter for wildlife, boosting the biodiversity of your outside space. The pile will decompose over a year or two, adding important nutrients into the surrounding soil. Lastly, if these solutions aren’t for you, then consider taking your Christmas tree to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre where it will be shredded and used as mulch and for paths in parks and other public spaces around the county.
Purchasing a real Christmas tree is considered more environmentally friendly than an artificial tree as young trees are planted in place of those cut down, making it a renewable product, and non-biodegradable plastic is avoided. Using any of the mentioned methods for recycling your tree will ensure it completes its climate positive lifecycle whilst also benefiting your outdoor space for the months to come.