As the holidays wind down, we begin our least favorite activity of the season: putting away our ornaments and decorations! Still, it must be done. So, we wrap the Christmas lights on their spool and fold up the festive linens that covered the table.

After finishing the cleanup above, we’re left staring at a bare, live Christmas tree that’s often still green with holiday cheer. What are you to do with that?!

While you can’t stow it away with the rest of your holiday gear, you don’t have to kick it to the curb either! Think about putting the tree to work in your garden by turning it into mulch or compost!

Can you use an old Christmas tree for mulch or compost?

You sure can! Live Christmas trees are the gift that keeps on giving. After they’ve fulfilled their holiday duties, their needles and branches can make great additions to your garden.

Can you use Christmas trees for mulch? Is it good?

You bet you can, and yes, it’s a good thing to do! That mulch will provide your garden with moisture and insulation throughout winter.

So, how can you turn that old tree into mulch?

Well, lots of cities host one-day tree recycling events or set up shop for the whole month of January. All you do is bring your live tree, and they’ll shred it down to natural mulch that you can take home and use in your garden. Though, some communities will even pick your tree up from the curb. Can’t beat that! Check with your city government to see if there’s a tree recycling program nearby and learn more!

If there isn’t one, you can still put your old tree to good use. Break off the needles, cut the branches into small, 1 or 2-inch pieces and use as mulch. Or you can entire limbs to cover your garden beds, which reduces frost heaving by insulating sensitive plants, like roses.

Can you compost an old Christmas tree?

Yep! They make an excellent base for your compost pile. For the best results, don’t include the needles, which can slow down the disintegration process. Instead, use the needles for mulch. Then, cut the branches into small pieces so that they turn into compost faster.

Even better, shred your Christmas tree branches at home or have your city government do it. The sawdust will break down much faster than chunks of tree branches. Top it all off with fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves and anything else you typically add to your compost pile.

Click for fresh ideas on upcycling your Christmas tree.

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