Birds in the Garden · Garden Recycling · Perennials

Recycle your Christmas tree and greens in the garden.

When it's taken down, roping hung on deck railings can be used to cover perennials.
When it’s taken down, roping hung on deck railings can be used to cover perennials.

Now that the holidays are over, ornaments have been removed from trees, greens used on stair railings and in centerpieces collected, and roping removed from doorways. Instead of sending them to a landfill, we can use them in the landscape.

Orange Slices - Blog

Give the tree to the birds.
Leave it in its stand or tie it to a post for birds to use as shelter from harsh weather and predators. Be sure to remove all bits of tinsel, lights and ornament hangers first. Then go one step further – make it a birdie bed and breakfast! Add strings of popcorn, stale pieces of bread and cranberries. If you saved some sunflower heads from the summer garden, hang them from branches. Orange slices and pine cones frosted with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed will also be appreciated by hungry birds.

Boughs cover perennials prone to frost heaving.

Cover any fall-planted perennials or plants prone to frost heaving with boughs.
Perennials planted in the fall may need a little extra protection to get them through their first winter. Perennials, like coral bells (Heuchera), foamflowers (Tiarella), blanket flowers (Gaillardia) and Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum), are sometimes heaved out of the soil by freezing and thawing soil. Their roots are then exposed to and damaged by drying winds and cold temperatures.

If you have access to a chipper, turn your Christmas tree into mulch for the landscape. Don’t have a chipper? Cut the tree into pieces. Save the trunk and large branches for plant supports, garden edging or firewood in your backyard fire pit. (Never burn them inside.) Add the smallest pieces to the compost bin.

Use loose needles, branch tips, small pine cones and cinnamon sticks to make potpourri. Get even fancier and add dried fruit, nutmeg, whole cloves and anything else you might have around that smells yummy!

At the very least, find out about recycling programs in your community.
Check their schedule for Christmas tree collection, inquire when mulch will be available for pick up, and then use it throughout the landscape to mulch around trees and shrubs and in perennial borders.

The more we consider the value of Christmas trees beyond the holidays, the fewer will end up in landfills. You may even find yourself driving around your community picking up discarded trees from your neighbors. So grab your greens and garden with me!

Do you have any other ideas on using Christmas trees or greens in the landscape?

4 thoughts on “Recycle your Christmas tree and greens in the garden.

  1. Wonderful blog — so glad to see and look forward to seeing many more! Needless to say I use boughs as mulch regularly, in late fall to protect new plantings and again after the holidays. In January I may clip them into smaller segments and drop them wherever I need to keep weeds down, which is pretty much EVERYWHERE!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Pat! I actually end up with more greens in spring when I empty all my containers. I usually chop these up and compost them.

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