Each year, many people debate whether to purchase a live Christmas tree or an artificial one, and as eco-friendly living trends has become more and more popular, a part of that debate is whether or not purchasing a live tree means reducing the overall population of pine trees in the U.S. In fact, nearly all Christmas trees sold in the U.S. come from farms, where trees are grown like crops specifically to become a festive decoration in your home. Each spring, tree farms plant new trees to replace what was harvested. Unlike artificial trees, which can take up to 400 years to decompose in a landfill after they’ve worn out and been thrown away, real trees are biodegradable. And when the holiday season is over with, there are many ways to responsibly recycle your Christmas tree for other purposes. Here is a list of great options for you to choose from when it comes time to recycle your tree.
One of the easiest and most popular ways to recycle Christmas trees is to mulch it, and then either use it as-is or compost it. Pine chips help soil to retain moisture, thus helping to reduce your summer watering bill. In addition, pine needles are full of nutrients that help to keep the PH of your soil at optimum levels, ensuring health and robust plants. As an added bonus, both pine mulch and compost resist compaction, which allows soil to breathe and prevent moss growth or root rot.
Benefit Local Fish
While not all areas will allow Christmas trees to be dropped in to local ponds or lakes, those that do present a great opportunity to repurpose your tree. When submerged in water, trees provide cover for fish to hide from predators. Over time, algae will grow on the tree, providing fish with a healthy food source.
If you have a good dry spot to leave your Christmas tree in, then you have the opportunity to dry it out and use it for firewood. While pine sap poses too high of a risk of creosote build-up to be burned in indoor fireplaces, it is a great choice for outdoor fires. Pine burns hot and fast, making it a great choice for bonfires.
Fertilizer for your Garden
After you’ve had a lovely bonfire with your dried Christmas tree wood, don’t throw out the remaining ashes. Instead, gather them up and mix them into the topsoil of your garden. Wood ash provides many nutrients to plants, including potassium and lime, which helps plants thrive.
Are the needles on your Christmas tree still green? Carefully remove them from the branches, put them in paper bags or sachets, and place them around your home. As the needles dry they will fill your home with a fresh pine scent for months to come.
If none of these options are going to work for your particular needs, your best bet is to find a local tree drop off location. The City of Lincoln currently has six different locations where Christmas trees can be dropped off. The city will recycle the trees into mulch, which will be used to freshen up parks and playgrounds around the city.
So when it comes time to say goodbye to your Christmas tree, pick one of these eco-friendly recycling options, and save your tree from going to waste at the local dump!