That bittersweet time arrives every year, where we’re done decking the halls and roasting chestnuts over an open fire. That’s right – Christmas must inevitably come to an end as we turn a corner towards the new year. And along with this season of change, as we start packing up decorations and lights from the home, we must make the decision about how to dispose of our live Christmas tree (for you fake tree folks, this article does not apply!). But just because your tree will no longer be the centerpiece in your living room, doesn’t mean that the spirit of the tree can’t live on…
Thankfully there are ways to extend the life of your evergreen that will extend well beyond the holidays….
To start with, one option is to chop up your tree into firewood for an outdoor fire-pit. (Just remember that kindling from Christmas tree is not safe for indoor fires, as it can produce a chemical known as creosote which can build up and cause the fire to send out extremely hot sparks). What better way to prolong the holiday spirit than to warm yourself by an outdoor fire with a cup of hot cocoa and friends and family by your side!
Compost Your Tree
Another option is to use your tree trimmings as compost throughout your landscape. Using a thin layer of branches from your evergreens provides a solid base layer, allowing air to flow from the bottom of the compost pile. For this technique, you’ll simply stack the tree trimmings in a bin roughly 5-6 inches high, and then start adding your kitchen waste and other compostable items.
In a similar fashion, you can also repurpose some of the trimmings and lay them beneath your perennial plants to serve as protection from frost and temperature swings (which are notorious in Colorado!).
Recycle Your Tree
Before you go leaving your tree out by the curbside for disposal, did you know that many cities offer tree recycling programs? In fact, right here in Denver the city runs a program by Denver Recycles called Treecycle, where the city will turn your Christmas tree into mulch – for free! In turn, that mulch is made available to Denver residents at the Mulch Giveaway and Compost Sale in May.
Last year, the city collected 21,500 trees – holy recycling Santa! This coming 2020, the program will be running between January 6 -17, and you can read more details HERE. And not to worry, if you miss the aforementioned window to curbside your tree, there are also Treecycle drop off locations on 7354 E. Cherry Creek Drive South and 10450 Smith Rd. that will be open until January 31st. That gives you a full month and then some after Christmas to recycle your tree!
And if you’re reading this article from another city, make sure to do a Google search to see if your nearby city offers a similar program. Otherwise, you can use one of the options above to repurpose your tree. If none of these options apply to you, many Christmas tree shops will accept returned trees after the holidays, in most cases to use for their own mulching or recycling purposes. Make sure to contact the tree farm where you purchased your tree in advance to see if this is something that they offer.