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B. Rosie Lerner

Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Purdue University


Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Though it may give you the blues to take down your holiday tree, you can find solace in recycling your tree in the landscape.

Winter birds will appreciate using the tree for cover in your backyard, especially if you decorate it with bird food ornaments. Be sure to remove tinsel, plastic and other non-recyclable ornaments. 

Suet, molded seeds or disposable birdseed hangers should be readily available from garden centers and bird supply shops. Homemade treats, such as pine cones or stale bread smeared with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed, are also a hit. 

You'll need to secure the trunk to the ground to prevent it from rolling away in winter winds. You can attach the tree to a stable support with wire or twine or use stakes to secure the tree to the ground.

Christmas trees can also be recycled to use as mulch around the landscape. You can chop or grind smaller branches for wood chips to use in flower, tree and shrub beds. Larger branches can be cut into smaller bundles for winter protective mulch around newly planted perennials and small shrubs. Be sure to remove the branches in spring, when the plants begin to grow again.  

Many communities have special pick-up service for discarded holiday trees. The trees are usually chipped up for use as mulch in parks and other city properties. Check local newspapers, or call the local street department for specific information in your area.



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Writer: B. Rosie Lerner

Editor: Oliva Maddox, (765) 496-3207


Last updated: March 27, 2006
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