Once Christmas is over, it is not uncommon to see discarded Christmas trees left out of the rubbish collection to take them away. However, this doesn’t need to be the case.
Here are 10 ways you can upcycle your Christmas tree in the garden this year.
Turn it into mulch
Your old tree can breathe new life into your garden once the festive season has drawn to a close.
Wendy explained: “If you’ve got a garden that needs some sprucing up, break it down and turn it into mulch.
“It’s a great way to re-use it in a way that’s both sustainable and can save you money – no need to run out to your local garden centre anytime soon.”
She says that once they are chipped, the branches of your tree can be used to enrich and insulate your garden’s soil.
Wendy added: “It can also help treat compaction, build resistance to soil erosion that often happens after heavy rain, and prevent the ground from becoming frozen during cold spells.
“In addition, pine needles can be mulched and be used on acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and daffodils.”
Use it as compost
Aside from spreading the mulch around trees and shrubs, you can also break your Christmas tree down and add it to your compost heap.
Wendy said: “It takes some work, but there are a whole host of benefits to adding your tree into the mix.
To start, strip down the branches and cut the tree into small pieces.
Wendy added: “The smaller the pieces the better.”
You can also use leftovers and peelings from your Christmas dinner vegetables as part of the compost.
Wendy said: “Adding your tree in the new year gives the process a huge boost, and by spring, your garden will benefit from some wonderfully nutritious and sustainable compost.”
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Use pine needles to add grip to a path
Stripping the pine needles off the branches and sprinkling them on muddy paths can add grip, according to Wendy.
She said: “This can be an absolute lifesaver during cold frosty months; pine needles are a great alternative to grit because they provide more purchase and can’t stop frost from setting in.
“They’re also slow to break down, comfortable to walk on, and good at suppressing weeds.”
Use the branches to protect your garden
Wendy said: “Your garden might be a bit bare during the winter months, but there are still a few things you can do to protect it until the spring – and your old Christmas trees can be a big help.”
To help plants in containers survive the winter, place them in a sheltered spot away from cold winds.
Then, spread fir branches over them or intertwine them to create a makeshift cover or shelter.
Wendy added: “Another trick is to intertwine the branches and use them as insulation at the base of winter-tender landscape flower beds. These measures will help to keep frost off and prevent hoarfrost, and a great sustainable alternative to plastic protection options.”
Use the tree as a frame for climbing plants
Christmas tree branches are incredibly hardy, and as a result, they can be used as a frame for climbing plants throughout the year.
Wendy said: “Strip the branches bare, make sure they’re dry before securing them in place; use the bare tree or remove and intertwine branches to make them stronger and add a wonderfully rustic spin.”
She added: “When it comes to choosing which plants to go for there are a lot of wonderful options to choose from.
“For early bloomers consider planting climbers Japanese quince, winter jasmine, and downy clematis, or if you’re after coverage go for something like star jasmine or evergreen clematis.”
The National Trust encourages people to pot their Christmas trees after use.
Due to their resilience, fir trees find it easy to adapt to new places, even if their roots have been removed.
Wendy said: “If their branches have dropped slightly, don’t worry; they can bounce back pretty quickly once they’re put in a fresh pot of soil.
“Add it to your garden, or ask around to see if anyone in your local area is interested in adding a new fir to their home.”
Fir trees prefer mild climates, so avoid planting it in a spot where it may be in full sun come the summer months.
Create a safe escape for wildlife.
Wendy said: “Winter can be a tough season for British wildlife. As well as the usual dangers to contend with, they have to weather the rain, snow, cold, wind, and scarcity of food.
“They need all the help they can get, and your old Christmas tree could be the perfect escape.”
The florist recommends placing your tree in a corner of your garden to provide shelter for wildlife including birds, squirrels, and, in some places even foxes.
She added: “Make sure it’s secured by ropes or placed out of the way of direct winds to make sure it’s safe, and enjoy watching your new neighbours make themselves at home.”