Christmas is rapidly approaching and will be here before you know it. Some families struggle with the option of whether to get a live tree of an artificial one. Both options have pros and cons. If you opted for a live tree, do you have a plan for what to do with it after the holidays? For those of us who may be new to live Christmas trees, it can be difficult to know how to dispose of them. After all, you can’t just toss entire trees into a dumpster. Here are a few helpful ideas and tips on how you can get rid of this year’s Christmas tree once the holidays are over in a responsible way.

Turn it into mulch

tree2Cut the boughs off of the tree and turn them  into a flower blanket. Place them on the ground, covering plants that could be susceptible to windburn or harsh temperatures. Cover up hardy plants, and those that might begin to bloom early and then we affected and hindered by a spring frost (such as pansies or early blooming perennials). Of course, this will only take care of the branches, so read on for ideas on how to get rid of the trunk.

Give it to the birds

Move the tree outdoors in the cold weather. There, it can provide shelter or food for wild birds and other animals. You can conveniently place the tree near a bird feeder, or hang treats from the tree, kind of like ornaments. You can hang a bag of suet, or craft your own feeder. Get a piece of cardboard or wood and smear it with peanut butter mixed with bird seed. This will attract the birds and feed them as well.

Give it to the fish

For this option, you will need to make sure to get permission. You can sink your tree to the bottom of a pond. Think of it like a Christmas gift to the fish and other pond life. The tree will become part of the habitat for fish and insects in deep waters. In shallow waters on the other hand, the tree will act as more of a barrier to erosion of sand and soil. (Currently, Louisiana is the only state with a tree-based restoration project. You can read more at savelawetlands.org)

Compost or chip your tree

tree1Call to find out if your town has a day for picking up trees after the holidays to be chipped or composted. Often times, you can go to the compost site in the springtime and get free compost or wood chippings for your garden. You won’t recognize it as your tree, but it will be a good feeling to know you kept your organic tree out of a landfill.

Turn it into a trellis

You can put the tree outside in a corner of your yard and set it up in the garden to act as a trellis. Peas or beans will love it, and you will help them grown and thrive.

Plan to plant for next Christmas

Next year, be planning ahead. Get a tree than can be planted once the Christmas season is over. Think “ball-and-burlapped” trees when searching.