All the presents are ripped open and the wrapping paper and packaging thrown out. The tree is still standing despite the best efforts of Rover and Fluffy. Now what? What do I do with the tree?
Well, if it is an artificial one, leave it up until Valentine’s Day like we used to do. It seemed like the thing to do at the time…
For several years, Mom and Dad would buy a living tree. We kept the tree in the living room until Spring when we could plant it outside. I don’t know if we left the decorations on it, but that may be where the tradition of keeping them on until Valentine’s Day came from. I know we had at least three live trees through the years and they are all taller than the two story house I grew up in. They liked living near Cosgrove, apparently.
If you are of the school to buy a cut tree for your Christmas season, you will probably want to get it out of the house as soon as possible. It becomes a fire danger if it isn’t kept moist.
When you are ready to take all the ornaments off and put them away, there are several ways to get rid of, or recycle your tree.
After you take all the ornaments, lights and tinsel off the tree, place the tree in the yard to be used by birds and other wildlife. It will provide shelter for the creatures from strong winds, cold and predators. You can hang fruit slices, suet cakes, cranberry strings or raisins on the branches to feed the birds. You can smear peanut butter and seeds on pine cones and then hang them in the trees, too. Birds love that!
Another option is to cut off the branches and use the boughs as mulch by placing them over perennials. Chip up the tree and use it as mulch, also, around trees, shrubs or in your flower beds.
If you don’t want to use the tree yourself, contact your local Solid Waste Agency to see if they have some type of Christmas tree disposal program. Some communities will have curbside pickup, others may provide a place to take the trees to be chipped into mulch. They will then be used to cover area trails or be made available to local residents to be used in your own gardens.
I have seen a lot of formerly decorated trees placed on top of the ice over lakes and ponds to be used as fish shelter/habitat when the ice melts. Contact your local Conservation Board to see if they want your tree for such a program.
Never burn your old Christmas tree in your fireplace or wood stove. The dry, evergreen branches will explode when burned and could cause a house fire. That is in addition to adding to the buildup of creosote in the chimney and flue.
Posted under Winter
This post was written by Eileen Loan on December 24, 2012