Garden Advice

How to Dispose of a Christmas Tree

After the Christmas festivities are over and you’ve had your fair share of joy and kissing under the mistletoe, it’s time to decide on how to dispose of your Christmas tree. While you may already be thinking of throwing it into the rubbish bin, there are more creative ways to deal with the problem. First off, though, you need to…

Table of Contents:

Prepare the Christmas tree for disposal

You don’t need to wait until the tree dries out. The drier it is, the more it becomes a fire hazard. Besides, you wouldn’t be able to use it for much if it’s dry. So, having said that:

  1. Remove the stand, lights and ornaments;
  2. Dump the leftover water from the tree stand;
  3. Cover the tree in an old blanket or tree bag to get it out of your home. The covering will keep the needles from falling on your carpet;
  4. Sweep any needles from your carpet with a broom. Don’t use a vacuum cleaner as it can get clogged or damaged;
  5. Check for any potential water spills on the floor where the tree was located.

Now that that is done, take a look at some suggestions on how to dispose of your Christmas tree:

Replant it

There are two instances to this method.

How to replant a Christmas tree with a live root system

If you’ve purchased a tree with a live root system with the intention of replanting it later, know this, you will not be able to keep it in your home very long. A week tops. Any more will diminish its chances to readapt to the outside conditions.

  1. Dig a hole well in advance before frost settles in. Digging a hole later will not be impossible, but it will definitely be harder.
  2. After the festive period is over, place your tree back outside in a cold and sheltered place. Keep it like that for about two weeks, so that it can re-enter its dormant state.
  3. Remove the burlap from its root ball.
  4. Place the tree in the hole and backfill it with soil.

How to replant a Christmas tree with no root system

It’s almost impossible to replant a Christmas tree with a cut root system. The poor thing has been slowly dehydrating ever since it was put up for sale at the start of the festivities. Still, there is something you can try. Mind you, it might work and it might not, but it’s the only way to replant a Christmas tree with no roots:

  1. Give the tree a few days to re-enter dormancy by keeping it in a cool sheltered area outside.
  2. Dig a fresh hole right before replanting. Make sure it’s deep enough, so the tree will not tip over.
  3. Cut the bottom branches of the Christmas tree. The purpose is for them to start to absorb moisture from the soil. Consider them a makeshift root system.
  4. Plant the tree and backfill the hole.
  5. Water it and hope for the best.
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Use it as a bird feeder

If you love decorating Christmas trees, you’d be delighted to learn you can do it all over again, but this time with bits of food for the birds. So, if you’ve successfully managed to replant your tree and want to do something more, this is it:

  • Make a tasty garland by stringing some popcorn or dried fruit. Why not mix them? Just make sure the string doesn’t become too heavy.
  • Mix some suet with bird seeds and distribute the material into cookie cutters. Attach paper clips to each and place the whole thing into your fridge. Afterwards, hang the pieces of bird “candy” on the Christmas tree.
  • Sock feeders are inexpensive and light, so you can purchase several and fill them with bird seeds as well.

Keep in mind: it might take a week or two for the birds to discover your tree.

Turn it into mulch

Another useful way to dispose of a Christmas tree is by turning it into mulch. Mulching is great for any garden as it prevents soil erosion after heavy rainfalls, and provides it with nutrients. Knowing that this new batch of mulch is from a Christmas tree will make it that much more special.

You don’t necessarily need a shredder for this bob, but it will come in handy. If you can’t borrow one from your neighbour and don’t want to rent one, you can just use an axe to chip the branches into tiny pieces. The smaller the better.

Compost it

You can use your old Christmas tree as a basis for your composter. Trim the tree branches so they can be easily inserted into the composter and stack them. Naturally, the smaller the pieces, the better. Afterwards, you can add your kitchen scraps.

Use as firewood

If you decide to go down this road, know that you should never throw your Christmas tree into your indoor fireplace. When on fire, pine needles emit harmful fumes, such as hydrogen cyanide, while the branches will generate large amounts of heat. Not only will it become hazardous to your breathing system, but those amounts of heat may lead to a chimney fire if the chimney haven’t been cleaned recently.

That’s why it is much easier to use it outdoors, at a fire pit. Just make sure the tree is completely dry before chopping it up into pieces and throwing them to be engulfed in flames.

Use it as potpourri

Everybody loves the smell of a Christmas tree, and making a potpourri is probably the best way to continue to enjoy that smell.

  1. Chop up your Christmas tree along with the trunk into tiny pieces.
  2. Put the pieces into a bowl and fill it up halfway with water. You can add extra bits, such as fruit, if you like.
  3. Place the bowl in a warm place, like on top of a radiator. As the water starts to heat up, you will notice a pleasant scent filling the room;

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Charity organisations

It will take some online research to find one, but there are lots of charity organisations in London which, for a small fee, will collect your tree. After all the Christmas trees are collected, they’re taken to be recycled. Recycling is by far the best option, as it helps nature and doesn’t require space in a landfill.

Local council

You can leave it next to your rubbish bin. It will be picked up on collection day by the rubbish collectors. However, we all know that they’re not always on time.

Get professional help

Some of you know this, and some don’t, but Fantastic Services offers a tree collection service. It goes along with our Christmas tree delivery. You can buy a tree from us, have it delivered, and arrange a collection date. That way, everything’s taken care of, sparing you time and nerves. Or you can book collection only, it’s £55 no matter the size of your tree.


  • Prepare the Christmas tree for disposal, by removing all garlands;
  • You can use your Christmas tree in your garden by either replanting it, or turning it into mulch or compost;
  • Never burn your Christmas tree indoors, instead do it outside in a fire pit;

Image Source: Shutterstock / kryzhov


How to you dispose of your Christmas tree? Do you use it in any of the way mentioned in this post? Let us know by commenting!

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