The holiday spirit is upon us, and that means putting up a Christmas tree. In my case, I’ve never cut down or purchased a living tree, but many people do. After Christmas, the question is what to do with the deader than dead tree.

City Services

In my city, a day during your garbage cycle is set aside for Christmas tree pick up. What do they do with Christmas trees? They chip and compost them for use in municipal parks.

While city pickup is fabulous, not everyone has this option. So then what do you do with a past due Christmas tree? Well, you can mulch it or chip it yourself for use in your landscape. Or if it's legal in your region, you can burn it outside or use it as firewood.

If your city doesn’t have a pick up program, it may have a recycling facility that will. Also some sellers will take back Christmas trees and see that they are mulched, chipped or composted.

Other Ideas

You can also cut the tree trunk into discs and use them to line flower beds and walkways. Then use the boughs to protect your perennials from frost over winter.

Or you can buy a Norfolk pine and have a living tree year round. A onetime purchase that is environmentally friendly, albeit a rather large houseplant.

This last option is the least savory. You can always do what my neighbors down the street do. Every year their tree makes its way back outside, dumped unceremoniously on the front lawn where it will stay until the next big windstorm when it will no doubt end up as someone else’s problem.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.