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Disposing of Your Christmas Tree

As we finish cleaning up all the wrapping paper, send visiting family on their way, and begin to put away the Christmas decorations, it is important to know all your options for disposing of your real Christmas tree.

One option would be to simply put the tree outside once it is undecorated and all the hooks, lights, and tinsel are removed.  This provides a bird sanctuary, especially for those of you who have bird feeders in the area.  The tree itself can become a bird feeder by placing fresh orange slices or strings of popcorn on the branches.

Other inexpensive options to feed your birds include placing the fat trimmings from your roast or hams in the branches. The fat trimmings essentially are suet; the definition of suet is the hard fat around the kidneys and loins of many animals including cattle, and sheep. Simply place the ‘suet’ in a mesh bag from onions, oranges or like and hang in the tree.  This may not be a good option if you have outdoor dogs or cats.

Of course, the tree will eventually lose its needles and become brittle at which time you can saw or even break apart and use the firewood in a campfire, or chip for mulch. Cutting apart into small enough pieces that will fit into your refuse bin is another option. However there are other more environmentally friendly options to dispose of it that will not land your tree in a land-fill.

Another seasonal way to reuse the tree is to trim off the branches and use them in other decorative ways for the rest of the winter months.  Placing these branches in a decorative display outdoors will last for several more weeks if not months. Indoors, depending on how dry your tree has become, the branches could be neatly displayed in a wet foam or vase of water for days or weeks as well. Be watchful of how dry the branches are getting and make sure they are not located near an open flame or heat source.

A final option is to have it picked-up or drop it off at the designated location given by your city, township, or county.  Every community is different but many of these trees are then chipped. The mulch created from chipping is used in city or county parks and trails.  Sometimes the trees are reused in erosion control efforts, or in wildlife habitat building sites.

Regardless of what option you choose, real Christmas trees provide so much delight in the holiday season and can be useful even after they no longer decorate our homes

DROP-OFF SITES Monday, Dec 17, 2018-Saturday, January 26, 2019

Glenwood/Pope County Drop-Off: TKI Tom Kraemer Inc. Landfill, 19776 200th Street, Glenwood (Just West of MN Hwy. 55) Open Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm

Alexandria/Douglas County Drop-Off , Douglas County Demolition Landfill , 2967 Pike Rd NE, Alexandria (Off of State Hwy 29 North) Open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat 9am-12pm

Remove all tinsel, plastic bags, metal and wire from trees. No artificial trees accepted. Recycle Christmas/Holiday light

strings & power cords at the Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Recycle Center (accepted year-round), ALP Utilities, Runestone Electric Assoc. or Ace Hardware, Glenwood & Alexandria(accepted until Jan. 27, 2019).  For more information about how to dispose of your Christmas tree, contact your local municipality.


Robin Trott
Extension Educator, Horticulture
(320) 762-3890