Christmas has come and gone and now it’s time to take down your Christmas tree. Often in the weeks following Christmas you’ll see trees that have been dragged to the curb, maybe even with a hint of silver garland still shining in the sunlight. But, what if I told you there are several ways you could recycle your Christmas tree in your own garden right now?

Here are 5 Ways to Recycle Your Holiday Greens in the Garden:

1. Perennial Protection: Cut the branches off your Christmas tree and used them as a ground cover around your perennials. The branches will protect your plants throughout the winter. In the spring, you’ll discard the branches so that your plants have room to grow.

2. Trellis: When I’m cutting the branches from the trunk for tip #1, I try to leave about 3 or 4 inches of branching on the tree. This way, in the spring, the trunk becomes a nice natural trellis for a vining plant such as black-eyed Susan vine or morning glory. I bury the base of the trunk of the Christmas tree about 18” deep, plant seeds or seedlings around the trunk and stand back. Once the vines begin to climb and fill out, you get a great vertical display of color in your garden.

3. Birding: This is one of my favorite ideas – take the Christmas tree and place it under a bird feeder. This creates a circus of color and activity! Watch as birds land on the feeder to eat and then jump and fly down though the branches of your Christmas tree to reach fallen seed. In addition to providing you with a great way to enjoy the birds in your yard, it also creates shelter and protection for the birds. The more comfortable and secure they feel, the more they will visit your feeders.

4. Firewood: Another option for recycling your Christmas tree is to cut the tree trunk into smaller sections to use as firewood in a fire pit in your yard, never indoors. Cardinal Bird

5. What about Fresh Wreaths and Garlands? Wreaths and garlands pose another source of mulching materials. I usually go to the effort of dismantling (unwiring) the wreath and use the greens as mulch on top of my larger planters that I leave out during the winter.  Garlands can easily be placed as is in garden beds and planters for winter protection.

So instead of dragging your tree to the curb, try one or more of the tips listed above. Your garden will thank you for it.

From our gardening family to yours, Happy Holidays!

By Felix Cutrone