In your home and yard, and all around your community, there are so many ways you can use Christmas trees after the holidays to help the environment and help ensure that our forests can remain abundant for many generations of happy holidays to come.
But before using or donating your real tree, be sure to remove tinsel, plastic and other non-recyclable ornaments that could be harmful to animals. Never burn your Christmas tree, even if it is dried out. Burning the tree is bad for air quality and can cause a fire.
Christmas trees are great as mulch because they do not have any invasive seeds that will destroy landscaping. Pine needle mulch helps winter soil to retain heat. When spring arrives, the warmed soil encourages early seeding and faster growth. As the season progresses, the mulch stabilizes temperature and moisture, and prevents sunlight from germinating weed seeds. Larger tree branches can be cut into smaller bundles for winter-protective mulch around newly planted perennials and small shrubs. Be sure to remove the branches in spring, when the plants begin to grow again. Chop or grind smaller branches into decorative wood chips to use in flower, tree and shrub beds.
Source: National Christmas Tree Assn. (www.christmastree.org)