Christmas tree

Time to say farewell: there are several things you can do with your tree now Christmas is over 

As January beckons and the festive season draws to a close, children across
the land will soon be removing the angel atop their tree, and parcelling up
the decorations for next year. One by one, our much-beloved Christmas trees
will be left out in the cold to await their fate. This sorry sight of
branches protruding from wheelie bins and limp, lacklustre trees on
pavements is enough to bring a tear to one’s eye.

Around 6 million Christmas trees are sold in Britain each year, and the Local
Government Association estimates that the cost of landfilling those trees
would be approximately £13.9 million. Thankfully, there are plenty of
environmentally- and taxpayer-friendly ways to dispose of your tree.


Thanks to local authorities, garden centres and community groups, recycling
your Christmas tree couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is take down your
decorations, remove the tree from its pot or stand, and leave it on the
boundary of your plot. Alternatively, you can drop your tree at a designated
communal collection point. These trees are then shredded into chippings
which are used locally in parks or woodland areas.

To find out more about Christmas tree recycling in your area, contact your
local authority or click


If you can’t bear to part with your Christmas tree, why not replant it in your
garden? The tree will prove an excellent shelter for birds during the cold
winter months, and you can hang fat-balls, apples and nuts to keep the birds
well-fed. Only live Christmas trees can be replanted, so make sure the root
ball of your tree is still intact before digging a hole.

At the time of purchase, your tree will already be dormant, and it’s important
to preserve that state of dormancy to help your tree survive once it’s been
replanted. Keeping your tree away from radiators and heat sources is
important. While your tree is indoors, water it daily to keep the root ball
damp. If you’re worried your tree may have come out of dormancy while
indoors, you can place your tree in a cold, sheltered area to allow it to
re-enter dormancy.

If the ground is likely to freeze, digging a hole in advance will make things
easier. Place your tree in the hole and backfill. Cover the hole with
several inches of mulch, and water thoroughly.


If you want to make the most of your tree, there are endless crafty ways to
repurpose every part of it. Here are just a few of the creative ways to
reuse your tree.

1. Rustic coasters and decorations

Tree branches double up as rustic coasters. ©Thrifty Below

The branches and trunk of your tree can be fashioned into rustic coasters and
quirky Christmas decorations, the Thrifty Below blog suggests. For coasters,
select a piece of wood with a decent girth to ensure your glass or mug will
fit. Use a band saw or hand saw to cut your wood into ½ inch segments. Don’t
worry if they aren’t completely straight, as an electric sander will smooth
out any rough edges and unevenness. Use a wood stain of your choice and seal
to avoid any unsightly rings.

For decorations, saw your wood more thinly and sand down. If you own a Dremel
MultiTool, you can cut out festive patterns, and a hole for ribbon.

2. Pine needle sachet

These pine needle sachets make great Christmas gifts. ©James Angus

If you can’t get enough of that pine tree scent, why not harvest the branches
of your pine tree and make scented sachets for drawers and wardrobes, asks
blog The Cavender Diary. A great way to use up any scraps of leftover
fabric, these fragrant sachets are an inexpensive gift idea for next
Christmas. Gather the needles from your tree in a bowl. Sew together two
identically-sized swatches of your chosen fabric, leaving a two-inch gap.
Next, turn your newly-sewn sachet inside out, fill it with pine needles and
stitch up the remaining hole.

3. DIY pine needle potpourri

Fill a large bowl with dried stems from your pine tree, or fallen needles.
Next, add some lemon and orange rind, a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and
some nutmeg to the mixture. To store it, place the mixture in jars or wrap
in newspaper.

Rachel De Thame

Gardener at BBC Gardeners World
Rachel de Thame is a UK gardening expert and TV presenter, born in Camden in London, England, popular on the BBC Gardeners World program.