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How to reuse Christmas trees

Published: 31 December 2022 - Neil Mead

Brits are being offered advice on how to reuse and make the most of their real Christmas tree after holidays are over. 


Experts at Gardening Express have looked into the creative and eco-friendly ways that dried out Christmas trees can be put to good use at home and in the garden. Many real Christmas trees find their way to landfill after the festivities are over, but there are a number of better ways the needles, branches and wood from the tree can be repurposed. 

From mulch to decorations, upcycling the dying tree will have many beneficial uses around the garden and home. Chris Bonnett, the founder of Gardening Express said: “There’s so much more that can be done with your real Christmas tree besides tossing it away. 

“Once the tree has fulfilled its festive purpose, it can be recycled and used for gardening, supporting wildlife or craft projects.

“Extending the life of your Christmas tree will not only allow you to make the most of it, but it’s also good for the environment.”

Here are seven ways to reuse Christmas trees from the team at Gardening Express: 

Make mulch

Take advantage of all the organic matter from the Christmas tree by turning it into natural mulch. Pine wood and needles are excellent mulch-making materials. Let the tree dry, put the branches into a shredder and let the wood chips rot before using them to mulch around trees and shrubs. If you don’t have a wood chipper then pine needles work well also since they dry quickly but decompose slowly. 

Use wood chips for paths

If you shredded the tree into wood chips for mulching then you can also save some to fill in the garden paths. A layer of wood chips will keep away weeds, hold moisture in the soil and create texture in the garden. 

Use branches as insulation

Pine branches can be used to protect tender plants from the frost. Chop large branches from the tree and lay them on the soil to provide insulation and limit the thawing and freezing of the soil.

Create a wildlife shelter

You can attract and support wildlife by letting the tree sit in the garden over winter. This will provide a shelter for little animals and birds to nestle in during harsh weather conditions. You can also hang bird food, slices of fruit or seed cakes on the branches to provide some snacks for the wildlife. 

Make garden and home decor

There are countless of DIY decorations you can craft using different elements of the tree. For example, you can make a beautiful wreath from the branches that can be hung on your door all year long. You’ll just need some binding wire, scissors, glue and any extra decorations you’d like to see on your wreath. 

Make fragrant sachets

The needles from your Christmas tree have a fresh, wintery scent, making them excellent additions to fragrant sachets. Just add the fallen needles to small bags and tie a ribbon around the top. The sachets could be placed in wardrobes and drawers for a fresh scent, they’re also great gifts to give to loved ones. 

Use branches as plant stakes

Strip the branches of needles and use them to support tender and young plants during winter winds and frosts. To prevent injuring the roots, plant the stakes about 2 to 3 inches from the plant's stem. Keep in mind to set the stake at an angle to give the plant more protection from winds. 


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