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How can I recycle my Christmas tree?

Even though the holidays are over and your Christmas tree has begun to dry out, you can still use it. The following suggestions can help you make better use of your Christmas tree.

If you feed birds in winter, your Christmas tree can provide valuable cover for the birds during stormy or cold weather. Simply lay your Christmas tree on it's side or stick it upright in the snow near the bird feeder. Birds are more likely to patronize feeders if they have cover nearby. In fact, you might even ask some of your neighbors to give you their Christmas trees. Pile up several trees or stand them up in a grove near the bird feeder to provide cover for many more birds. Some people hang suet balls filled with seed and other food to make the feeding station more attractive to more species.

If you are a gardener, try using your Christmas tree boughs for protecting perennial flowering and small fruit plants. Cut the branches from the tree and place them over strawberry plants, spring flowering bulbs, and perennials. You may have to anchor them down in windy places. The branches make good mulch by themselves or they can be used to help hold other mulches in place. The branches also help catch and hold snow over the plants. Snow is a great insulator and helps protect plants over winter. Don't worry about the dried needles hurting the soil as these break down, they add organic matter and nutrients to the soil beneath. They do not make the soil too acidic.

If you have access to a garden sized chipper/shredder, you can save your tree until spring then chip it up for mulch. Wood and bark chips make excellent mulches for all the plants in your garden and landscape. The chips can also be composted.