Bringing a live Christmas tree into your home makes the holiday magical. And once the distinct aroma of fresh evergreen foliage 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.

Your city may host a Christmas tree recycling event. For example, Atlanta’s Bring One for the Chipper event in 2016 celebrated 25 years of tree recycling by collecting more than 100,000 trees. 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. Conifer needles and wood from branches and stems can make good mulch if cut into small pieces. When applied to a home garden, the mulch will deposit nutrients to the soil over time.

3. Spice Up Your Home

If you’re creative, you can ensure your cherished tree never even leaves the house. Pluck out the 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 are a few things you should know.

First, you can’t replant trees that have been cut or have a damaged root ball. Only potted Christmas trees are candidates for planting. 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 possible. 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. Garages or carports work well for this. In the meantime, water the tree every few weeks.

  • When it’s ready to go, select the ideal site in your yard (conifers grow big!), prepare the planting site, and plant the tree.

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

Can you compost an old Christmas tree? Find out!

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