So last season! What should you do with your withered Christmas tree?
PUBLISHED: 19:30 06 January 2016
It's Twelfth Night! Your trees should be down by now. And for those of you who opt for the natural look during the holidays, you've got a lot more to think about than packing it up and banishing it to the attic.
It’s all a bit sad really - performing that reverse decorating task of making your Christmas tree look unpretty. And for those that displayed a real life tree in the house over Christmas, you’ve now got to actually dispose of it somehow. It’s a bit of a sorry sight - when you put the tree up in December it always looks so fresh and bountiful; but come January, the needles are dropping, the boughs are sagging and the greenery is crusting. Time to banish it, like a wizened ghost of Christmas past.
But don’t just chuck it! Trees give their lives to sit in our homes, bedecked with lights and ornaments all December. It’s all rather environmentally unfriendly. 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. So how can you be kinder to your old tree - and the planet - this January?
We use green bins when we garden, so do the same with your tree on a larger scale. Recycling your Christmas tree is easy. Local authorities and garden centres take used, dying trees as long as you have removed all the bells and whistles from it (including the pot it has stood in all season).
Either leave it on the boundary of your plot or take it to a designated communal collection point. These trees are then shredded into chippings which are used locally in parks or woodland areas.
Back to nature
If it’s still alive, it can be saved! Only Christmas trees that haven’t totally died can be replanted, so make sure the root ball of your tree is still intact before digging a hole in your garden. You’re essentially giving it a second lease of life and giving it the opportunity to thrive once more. 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. 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. When suitable for replanting, place your tree in the hole and backfill. Cover the hole with several inches of mulch, and water thoroughly.
Rachel Thompson of the Telegraph writes: “If you want to make the most of your tree, there are endless crafty ways to repurpose every part of it. The branches and trunk of your tree can be fashioned into rustic 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.
“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. 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.
“Alternatively, fill a large bowl with dried stems from your pine tree, or fallen needles. 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.”
If you’re going to do any of these things with your tree, get on with it. Otherwise, you’ll prop the tree up outside the back door and it’ll still be there in the summer. Replanting needs to be prompt, and the effectiveness of the coasters and pine fresheners will become less the longer you leave it. Don’t be one of these households that looks to the neighbours like you don’t care about the environment. Be kind to your tree - after all, it’s been kind to you all Christmas!