Bringing a live Christmas tree into your home makes the holiday magical. And once the distinct aroma of fresh pine fills the room and its bristled branches shine with lights, it gets harder and harder to say farewell to this holiday gem.

Fortunately, your treasured tree doesn’t have to be kicked to the curb. Read on to learn five creative and eco-friendly tips for recycling a Christmas tree after the holidays.

5 Ways to Repurpose a Live Christmas Tree

1. Find a Christmas Tree Drop-Off Area in Your City

Recycled trees do good deeds for the community, like providing mulch for playgrounds or a habitat for local fish.

Your city may host a Christmas tree recycling event. For example, Atlanta’s Bring One for the Chipper event recently celebrated 25 years of tree recycling by collecting more than 100,000 trees in 2016 alone. And half of those were chipped by Davey Tree Experts!

Check with your city government for details on tree recycling.

2. DIY Plant Nutrients

Or you can recycle your Christmas tree right at home. Pine needles make a great moisturizing mulch. Also, branches can be shredded into heavier mulch or cut into small circles to line a flower bed. Over time, the mulch adds a boost of nutrients to the soil.

3. Spice Up Your Home

If you’re creative, you can ensure your cherished tree never even leaves the house. Pluck out pine needles, and add them to a bowl of potpourri for a natural air freshener.

The branches can be transformed into rustic wood coasters, candleholders or other crafty items. Get inspired by this tree branch lamp shade.

4. Fire Up the Wood

Who doesn’t love lighting a fire pit to make late night s’mores or stay cozy in an outdoor space?

Chop your old Christmas tree branches into firewood, and wait for them to completely dry before use. Don’t use the wood indoors, though. It can get extremely hot and cause a fire hazard.

5. Plant It!

Replanting a Christmas tree is possible, but there a few things you should know.

First, you can’t replant trees that have been cut or have a damaged root ball. Next, consider where the tree was in your home. Did it sit near any vents or heaters? Warmer conditions could have dried the tree out, meaning it can’t be revived.

If your tree was in a generally cool area indoors, like near a window, take these steps to plant it:

  • Plant right after Christmas. If you’re in a cold climate and the ground isn’t prime for planting, mulch the tree and set it aside in a cold, sheltered area until the temperature warms up. In the meantime, water the tree every few weeks.

  • When it’s ready to go, place the tree in a hole, cover it and seal with mulch and water. All the info you need here.

  • Keep the tree well-watered throughout the growing season.

Encourage your friends and family to reuse and recycle their Christmas tree by sharing this blog post on Facebook!

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