Ways to Repurpose a Christmas Tree

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Christmas trees can go to good use after the holidays. Here are some tips for repurposing a tree. Be sure to remove all decorations, including tinsel, first.

A northern cardinal perches on a Christmas tree discarded at the edge of a woodland.

A northern cardinal perches on a Christmas tree discarded at the edge of a woodland.

  • Re-decorate the tree with treats for wild birds. Leave the tree in its stand or stand it in a large planter with rocks or sand to steady it. Put it on a deck, porch or patio and decorate it with orange halves, pine cones slathered with peanut butter, suet cakes, and small bird feeders.
  • If your yard borders woods or another type of wild area, lay a de-decorated tree near or in it. Birds, chipmunks, mice and other small animals can use it for cover from predators and harsh weather.
A squirrel investigates the Christmas tree, which has been decorated with cranberry garland and peanut-buttered pine cones.

A squirrel investigates the Christmas tree, which has been decorated with cranberry garland and peanut-buttered pine cones.

  • Compost it. Be sure to shred it into wood chips before you add it to the pile. It is not true that conifer needles or other parts will acidify your compost.
  • Cut branches and loosely place them over "evergreen" perennials in your garden that tend to get ratty over the winter, such as coral bells (Heuchera) or pigsqueak (Bergenia). Remove in earliest spring.
  • Cut a branch or two and hang them above a bird feeder, creating a protective roof for the birds as they feed.
  • Use branches that are still fresh as filler in the New Year's flower arrangements.

Images: Bobistraveling/CC BY 2.0