Eco Tip: What to Do with Your Christmas Tree — Other than Putting it in the Trash

Marsha Low, Weavers Way Environment Committee

It’s always sad to see Christmas trees stripped of their finery and sitting discarded in the street. Fortunately, you can repurpose your tree in several ways once the season is over. Here are some of them:

  • Winter’s cycle of freezing and thawing can heave plants out of the ground. Cut off some of the boughs of your tree and place them over your perennial beds to protect them from snow and heaving. Then remove the boughs when the weather begins to warm up.
  • There are various ways to use the trunk of your tree. It can be cut into two-inch disks that provide attractive edging for flower beds or for walkways. The disks can also be used as stepping stones in your landscape — or you can saw the trunk into different lengths and use them as potted plant risers.
  • If you have space in your backyard, consider propping your old tree up against a fence, or leave it in its stand. The birds that shelter in its branches will be even happier if you hang bird feeders and suet cakes or a few pine cones coated with peanut butter from its branches. Later on, the needles that drop as the tree dries out make great mulch for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberry shrubs.
  • You might prefer to recycle your tree and have it turned into mulch. Some townships, such as Springfield, have curbside pickup, but Philadelphia does not. Fortunately, there are several drop-off sites run by the Streets Department. In addition, there are neighborhood organizations and civic associations that sponsor tree recycling. You can find all of these listed here.

(Note: As of the writing of this article, the 2021 dates have not yet been posted.)