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Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Old Christmas Tree After the Holidays

What to do With Your Old Christmas Tree

Closeup of pine tree bristles.

With the holiday season coming to a close, the Christmas ornaments are coming down and it’s time to dispose of that old, dried-out evergreen tree. But before you toss it out by the yard waste, consider these ten things you can do with your Christmas Tree.

1. Use Pine Needles for Mulch

Over time, cut evergreens dry out. This makes pine needles perfect for mulching. They’re dry and decompose slowly, so they’re perfect to cover crops and flowers to help them brave these cold winter months.

2. Create a Bird Sanctuary

While you’re done enjoying your Christmas tree, our feathered friends outside can still enjoy it! Just set your tree up outside to provide shelter from the blustery, cold winds. You can even set up bird feeders, corn cobs and other treats to help them weather the winter.

3. Make Bird Feeders

Speaking of bird feeders, you can use the tree trunk to make simple bird feeders. Cut the trunk in two- or three-foot sections. Stand them up outside and drill one-inch holes around it. Fill the holes with peanut butter, and watch the birds flock to it.

4. Use the Trunk for Garden Edging

Repurpose the trunk of your tree as a natural, cost-effective garden border. You can hang onto your tree until springtime. Cut the trunk into 2-inch discs and set them up in the soil along flower beds or even walkways. Seal them in with some soil or compost for a beautiful addition to any backyard scenery.

5. Make Coasters

Use the trunk to create unique, beautiful coasters. Simply cut the trunk into thin slabs, sand them smooth and apply a thin coat of polyurethane. This will seal in any sap from your evergreen and provide a protective surface for those cold drinks all year.

6. Make Potpourri

Savor the sweet scent of your evergreen for months by reusing the pine needles in potpourri. Nylon stockings can work well or use a glass container to beautifully display this fragrant item. Experiment with mixing in dried fruits, flowers, and spices to create unique, wintery scents.

7. Make Fire Starters

Dry pine needles are perfect for starting fires. Take empty egg cartons and fill them with needles and even small twigs. Melt an old candle and pour the wax into each carton, covering the tree scraps. Let harden and cut out each individual fire starter!

8. Protect your Perennials

Midwest winters can be brutal, so take the opportunity to use your old Christmas tree to protect those less hardy perennials. Place whole branches in your flower beds to protect them from freezing temperatures, frost and snow.

9. Compost It

Your old evergreen is great for adding nutrients to your compost pile. Simply chop it up and mix it in with your existing heap for great dirt and mulch in the spring.

10. Chip the Tree for Mulch

One last way to repurpose your Christmas tree: chip it. This requires finding or borrowing a wood chipper, but it’s a great way to put your tree to use. Simply send it through and you have the perfect mulch for your gardens or pathways.


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