Christmas is almost here, so you no doubt already have your Christmas tree up and fully decorated. Before you know it, it’ll be time to take the tree down again. If you use a plastic tree, you can simply put it back in storage until next year.
However, if you prefer the classic look, feel, and smell of a real Christmas tree, you may be wondering what to do with your tree once December 26th rolls around. Don’t just throw it in the trash. Instead, make use of it.
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Here are 12 clever ways you can repurpose your old Christmas tree.
1. Create a Fish Shelter
Many species of fish love hiding out between sunken branches. If you have a pond on your property that is stocked with fish, you can sink your old Christmas tree into it to provide them with shelter. Not only with this shelter help your fish population thrive and reproduce, it will also provide you with a go-to fishing spot in your pond.
2. Make Mulch
Since pine needles dry out quickly while at the same time being slow to decompose, they make for excellent mulch. Once you’re done with your Christmas tree, strip the needles off of it and allow them to dry. The dried out needles can then be used as mulch in your garden.
3. Create a Bird Habitat
If you enjoy watching birds from your home, you can use your old Christmas tree to create a bird habitat that will attract them in. Keep your Christmas tree in its stand and move it outdoors to a location within view. You can then hang bird feeders from its limbs in order to create the perfect habitat for drawing in all sorts of birds.
4. Turn it into Wood Chips
Wood chips have a wide range of uses when it comes to gardening, as they are both attractive and effective at suppressing weeds. While you can purchase bags of wood chips from the store, you can also make your own if you have a wood chipper and an old Christmas tree. Simply feed the tree into the wood chipper to convert it into wood chips that you can store away for use when gardening season comes around.
5. Use it as Kindling
Dead, dry pine catches fire very easily and makes for excellent kindling. If you chop the branches and trunk of your old Christmas tree up into small pieces, you’ll have a ready supply of kindling to help you get a fire started the old-fashioned way without having to rely on flammable chemicals such as lighter fluid.
6. Make Pine Needle Tea
If you own a Christmas tree that has not been treated with any kind of chemicals, you can use the needles to make a very nutritious pine needle tea. For a great pine needle tea recipe, check out this article. A word of caution, though: many Christmas tree farms spray their trees with chemicals, so it’s probably best to only use your Christmas tree to make pine needle tea if you cut it from the forest yourself.
7. Use the Branches to Stake Plants
Many types of plants need a stake, either to support the plant or to provide a structure for it to grow on in the case of climbing vines.
If you intend to grow plants that need to be staked, you can cut small branches off of your old Christmas tree to use as stakes. Not only will these branches work great as stakes, they’ll also look more natural and aesthetically pleasing.
8. Use it for Woodworking Projects
Pine is a great type of wood for creating handmade items, and there is a wide range of woodworking projects that you could complete using wood that you gather from your Christmas tree.
For example, you could cut the trunk of the tree into slices, sand them down, and apply a coat of polyurethane to their surface in order to make handmade coasters. This, of course, is just one example of the woodworking projects that you can do using wood from a Christmas tree, and your own imagination is the only limit.
9. Make it into a Chicken Roost
Chickens need something that is relatively round to roost on at night. However, perfectly round, smooth wood such as wooden dowels is not recommended since it can be difficult for the chickens to keep a grip on the wood’s surface.
If you cut the branches off of your old Christmas tree, though, leaving only the trunk, you’ll have an ideal roost to place in your chicken coop. It’ll be round enough for them to rest on while also being rough enough on the surface for them to easily grip.
10. Make it into Potpourri
There’s something very pleasant about the smell of pine needles. In fact, that signature scent is often one of the main reasons why people choose a real Christmas tree as opposed to a plastic one. Once Christmas is past, though, you can still enjoy the scent of your tree if you turn it into potpourri.
For more details on how to make potpourri out of an old Christmas tree, check out this article.
11. Use the Pine Needles for Animal Bedding
If you have pets or livestock, there’s a good chance that they would enjoy some nice, warm bedding to lay on. Stripping the pine needles off of your Christmas tree and placing them down where your animals sleep is a great way to repurpose your Christmas tree into animal bedding.
As an added bonus, the scent that pine needles give off will often ward off many types of insects, helping you keep your animals free of pests.
12. Turn it into Compost
Though pine may decompose slowly, it does eventually decompose. If you use your Christmas tree for one of the purposes mentioned above, understand that it will eventually rot.
However, once your Christmas tree begins to rot, you can still make use of it by turning it into compost. The branches and pine needles from your Christmas tree can be added to your compost pile and composted just like any other materials you might already be composting.