It’s tall, evergreen, and mocking you. That’s right, the holiday season has ended just as quickly as it began, and the Christmas tree needs to come down.

They’ve served us well with their twinkling lights and ornaments as the perfect backdrop for family photos and a nice shelter for our Christmas presents – but their job doesn’t have to be over just yet. After you’ve removed the lights, tinsel, and ornaments, recycle your Christmas tree and help enrich your yard and local wildlife species.

Decorate Them… Again

USFWS
Image Credit to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

If you enjoy watching wildlife and you’re not quite ready to close the door on the holiday season, place your tree in the backyard and decorate it with edible ornaments and popcorn strings. Decorating your tree for wildlife can help them comfortably survive the winter when food is scarce. Most of the recipes call for peanut butter, fresh fruit like grapes, berries, or apples, suet, and bird seed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PRO TIP: Place a salt lick at the base of the tree to attract Santa’s exhausted “reindeer!” (white-tailed deer)

MarciaBrandesGNPA
Image Credit to Marcia Brandes/GNPA

Brush Piles for Birds

The easiest thing you can do is create a brush pile in your backyard, which is essentially a pile of branches, logs, and leaves. These piles offer food and protection from the cold for several local wildlife species, including birds. Not all communities allow this, so make sure to check with your neighborhood and local ordinances.

Mulch It

Recycle your tree by composting or mulching it to help the plants in your garden. Most communities have access to curbside recycling pickup, but you can also drop it off for recycling and receive a bag of fragrant, freshly shredded wood chips. Spread the mulch around trees and shrubs to insulate their roots, or sprinkle pine needles throughout your garden to enrich your soil.

Do it for the Fish

i-qP3wTw4-XL

Georgia DNR Fisheries, Hatcheries, and PFAs no longer accept Christmas trees for use as fish attractors in local waters. This is because they break down readily, and we have man-made structures that hold up better and longer. However, you can still use them in your own pond! Sinking your Christmas tree provides a natural cover for smaller fish species, which larger fish will inherently follow.

If you recycle your tree this year, let us know what you do with it by commenting or sending in photos or videos.