December 23, 2020
Whether you take down your Christmas tree before the New Year, or like to enjoy it as long as you can, safe and appropriate disposal provides a bevy of benefits. Here are five tips for Christmas tree disposal from the Plant Clinic experts at The Morton Arboretum.
1. Prevent Fire Hazards. Dispose of your Christmas tree as soon as it shows signs of drying out to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard. Needles will become brittle and start to fall off, and the tree will no longer take up water. Never burn your tree in a fireplace or wood stove. It may cause creosote buildup leading to a chimney fire.
2. Protection. Cut off the branches and lay them over the garden until spring. Tree branches act as a mulch and insulate the plants underneath, while also protecting the soil from freezing air.
3. Shelter. If space permits (and your neighbors don’t mind), leave the tree in the backyard to provide shelter for birds and other animals during the wintertime, or place the trunk in a pond to provide shelter for fish.
4. Recycle. Check with your municipality or waste management company to learn its tree recycling or disposal requirements. Arrange to have your tree recycled into mulch or compost to help other trees and plants. Be sure to remove all decorations from the tree. Trees not in compliance will go to a landfill instead of being repurposed. NOTE: Flocked trees—trees covered in white synthetic powder to appear as snow—can't be recycled; they must be landfilled.
5. DIY. Reuse the tree trunk for countless craft and decor projects (coasters, bird feeders, ornaments, and more).
For more plant and tree tips for a greener world, visit mortonarb.org.