The Benefits Of Live Trees

Ornaments on an outdoor Christmas tree
(Image credit: Elena Popova / Getty Images)

While growing up, my home almost always had a live cut tree for decoration during the holiday season. Covered in handmade ornaments and twinkling lights, I can’t deny that there was something magical about these times that brought family and friends so closely together. As the years progressed, my family moved further away from this tradition in favor of an artificial tree. With a little care and attention to detail, these trees turned out to be just as beautiful, and were put together in much less time and with much less effort. However, it wasn’t until I moved into my own home that I started my own tradition.

My Tree Tradition

Evergreen trees are truly a beautiful sight to behold during the winter. Their thick branches fill with snow and shelter even the tiniest of native animals from the cold. Rather than decorate with a live cut tree, I enjoy decorating those which are growing outdoors in my yard. While lights are optional, traditional ornaments are replaced by those which can be eaten by birds and squirrels as they forage through the snow.

Though the non-traditional look of an outdoor holiday tree may not be for everyone, I always enjoy standing at my kitchen window with a cup of hot chocolate, watching as the birds dance among the branches. Tree decorations usually include a collection of peanuts, pinecone feeders, suet, and even dried fruit. This out-of-the-box approach also solves another problem that was so evident with live cut trees, their disposal.

How to Get Rid of a Christmas Tree

After the holiday season has passed, leftover bird seed can simply be removed or left in place to naturally fade away. While many people choose to mulch or compost their cut holiday tree, this is simply not an option for many. Some large cities do offer free dumping sites for the trees, but the issue of removal and transit still remains.

Other uses for discarded trees include their use as fire wood and in various types of wood craft projects. Dried holiday trees can also be left outdoors to serve as much needed wildlife shelter for the remainder of the winter. Some people may even submerge trees in lakes or ponds to create habitat for fish.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has transformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel