7 Ways to Recycle Your Christmas Tree

Traditionally, your Christmas tree should be down by the 12th day of Christmas - the 5th or 6th of January depending on your denomination’s starting point. This will ward off bad luck and, let's be honest here, everyone’s had enough of bumping into the thing and hoovering up the resultant cascade of needles.

Time to move on. 

For artificial trees recycling is easy enough - fold the branches down and stuff back into the rapidly disintegrating box the thing came in the first place. And then back into the attic to languish for another eleven months. 

Real trees are a different matter though. 

Council Recycling

a Christmas tree with baubles and fairy lights


Make sure you take all the decorations and tinsel off and then it’s time to turn to your local council.

Most councils will recycle your tree for you if you take it to your local Christmas tree drop off point.

One or two councils are pushing out the boat and will pick up trees on a designated day from your front drive etc.

Check out your council for your local arrangements.

Once they have it, they will chip them into small pieces which will be used to top up pathways in parks or used as a mulch around street trees.

A great way to ‘do your bit’ for the local area. 

DIY Recycling

You can do a few things at home with your Christmas tree that will benefit your own garden.

a large amount of pine needles


Cut the branches off the trunk and feed them through your own domestic wood chipper.

OK, these cost a few quid but as it isn’t going to be used every week, think about pooling resources (cash!) with your neighbours and share the machine.

Just a thought in these reported fractured times?

Once you have your buckets of chippings, you can then use them around your camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and Japanese acers.

Or anything that wants a slightly acidic soil.

The needles will eventually rot down and slightly acidify the soil.

Only a tad but enough to allow your prized shrubs to thrive in the soil. 

a line of three compost bins on a lawn


You can also add the branch pieces to your compost bins.

They will rot down, providing good quality ‘roughage’ for the billions of fungi and bacteria working tirelessly in your heaps.

A top tip though: don’t slap a thick layer of the stuff all at once into your heap as it will take longer to rot down; plus, worms don't like overly acidic conditions.

Better to spread the pieces throughout your heap by adding a few, turning your heap, adding a few more, more turning and so on.

After all, you should be turning your heap anyway! 

Creative Uses for Your Christmas Tree

But if a chipper is not your thing, compost heaps feel too hard work (they really aren’t!) and your council is so skint it can’t recycle your tree, you can use it elsewhere in your garden.

sweet peas in the garden

Plant and Vegetable Support

The actual trunk of the tree can make a super bean or sweet pea support as the grizzly, knobbly bits allow the tendrils to cling on and clamber up (smooth bamboo canes are possibly the hardest surface for beans to climb up).

pink rhododendrons

Frost Protection

If you want to grow early veg or need to protect frost tender plants, create frameworks from sticks or canes and use the whole branches off your tree as a cover.

They will keep a degree or two of frost off your plants.

In fact, you might not even need a framework - gently drape branches on vulnerable plants for great protection. 

a hedgehog on the grass

Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife is vital to the garden.

Help create comfy safe spaces by cutting your otherwise discarded Christmas tree into chunky lengths, chop a few branches off and build a wildlife refuge.

Wildlife will be safe from predators and, again, a couple of degrees of extra warmth may well be the difference between life or death for small mammals. 

a blackbird stood on a fence

Bird Feeder

The life of your tree’s usefulness can be extended by simply taking it outside, securing in the ground or in a large, sturdy pot and then decorating it all over again - this time with homemade suet bird feeders.

And all that just goes to show that a Christmas tree isn't only for Christmas! 

Now Take Stock of Your Garden Supplies

a wooden greenhouse with an open roof vent and sliding door


Now that Christmas is over and spring is on the horizon, it's a great time to take stock of your garden equipment.

Start by viewing Buy Sheds Direct's superb range of 'grow your own' products.

They've got planters, wheelbarrows, greenhouses and more, all perfectly designed for people like us who value spending time in the garden.