The Christmas tree recycling dilemma is one that many people who've opted for a real tree have after twelfth night (6 January), or even earlier if some London streets are anything to go by. But there are more options than taking it to the local Christmas tree graveyard or sticking it beside the bin and hoping the council will recycle it.
Thankfully, this year, the folks at Squires Garden Centres have a few clever ideas about what to do with a Christmas tree once the festivities are over.
1 SECOND LIFE
Use the tree as a stake – strip off the pine needles and use the trunk as a fantastic frame for flowers or runner beans to grow up.
2 PROTECT PLANTS
Chop off the branches and lay them on top of your flowerbeds to protect them from frost.
3 ANIMAL SHELTER
Create a wildlife habitat - put your tree or branches in the corner of your garden and it will make a great shelter for wildlife from the cold, wind and rain.
4 BIRD FEEDER
Place your tree in a heavy pot in the garden so that it doesn’t tip over, and hang different bird feeders on the branches to attract peckish sparrows and other feathered friends into your garden.
5 FUEL THE FIRE PIT
Chop up the branches, wait for them to dry out, then when the weather gets warmer use as firewood in an outdoor fire pit, it'll smell lovely too. (Don’t use the wood indoors as it can get extremely hot).
6 MAKE MULCH
If you have a shredder, cut the branches off the tree then put them in the shredder one by one. Use the mulch around garden trees or shrubs to improve the soil and suppress weeds.
7 REPLANT IT
If your tree is ‘pot grown’ then you can replant it in your garden and bring it in again next year. It'll make a charming annual ritual - and helps both the pocket and the planet.
8 RECYCLE IT
See what schemes your local council are running. Many will now collect your tree from your road so there’s no need for that trip to the dump.