Give your tree a second life by re-purposing it to help animals and the environment

Create a Christmas Tree Birdfeeder

Create a Christmas Tree Bird Feeder

Don’t Trash That Christmas Tree

Give your tree a second life by re-purposing it to help animals and the environment

It’s that time of year again—stockings hang empty on the fireplace mantle, candy canes that once adorned the tree have long since been eaten and packages are empty and stripped of their finery.

Now comes the age-old dilemma: What to do with that real tree? We’ve got a few ideas to put that retired tree to good use to help you, the environment and your wild neighbors.Caution: Make sure the tree has no tinsel on it before you incorporate it into your landscape.

1. Stand your tree outside near bird feeders for added cover for birds

2. Need an indoor project for the kids while they’re out of school? Have them make birdie edibles to adorn the tree

Cover pinecones with peanut butter and dip them in birdseed or sunflower seeds.

Make dried bagel wreathes—cut the bagels in half, smear the sides with peanut butter, dip them in seed and tie them securely to the tree with string.

String popcorn, cranberries, oranges, peanuts in the shell and other bird goodies to hang in the tree.

3. Have a natural pond or lake? Sink the tree to create fish habitat

4. Make a brush pile

Use the tree as a base for a teepee-style brush pile.

Remove the limbs and to add to an existing brush pile.

5. Lay the tree down in your yard to provide a wildlife shelter or a habitat for beneficial insects

6. Turn the tree into mulch

Let the tree dry out so the needles fall off, and rake the needles up for mulch. And if you own or have access to a wood chipper, you can grind the trunk, too. Spread the mulch around to feed acid-loving plants and to provide a home for shrews, who don’t live in burrows so much as in litter and decaying plant matter on the ground.

7. Recycle the tree

Check with your county’s local waste management department to see if you have a local tree recycling program, or check out Earth911 for a recycling location near you.

Make a resolution for the new year

Next season, think live. Get a balled or potted tree that can be planted after the holidays. You’ll avoid the “what to do with a dead tree blues,” and you’ll provide cover and a nesting place for birds for years to come.

Janet Snyder is the HSUS outreach and education manager for wildlife and habitat protection.

 Tree Farms in Wayne County 

Larry Mooney
Urtz’s Evergreens LLC
3444 Cole Road
Marion, NY 14505
(315) 597-6121
 Kendra Franke
Franke’s Nursery
4653 Eddy Ridge Road
Marion, NY 14505
(315) 926-5907;
 James Hamman
Pine Tree Farm
1283 Plank Rd.
Walworth, NY 14568
(315) 524-9855
 Jim & Mary Lou Alexander
Alexander’s Christmas Tree Farm
2269 Trimble Road
Ontario, NY 14519
(315) 524-9083;
 Roger & Jessie Keymel
Christmas Tree Farm
4836 Walworth-Ontario Road
Walworth, NY 14568
(315) 524-9205;

Information provided by Christmas Tree Growers of NY

Listed below are some of the more popular Christmas tree types available around the world.
Click each tree type for a detailed description and photo(s):

Fir Trees
Pine Trees
Spruce Trees
Cypress Trees
Cedar Trees
Balsam Fir White Pine Colorado Blue Spruce Arizona Cypress Eastern Redcedar
Canaan Fir Scotch Pine Norway Spruce Leyland Cypress
Douglas Fir Virginia Pine White Spruce
Fraser Fir
Grand Fir
Noble Fir
Concolor Fir (White Fir)


This section prepared by Clarke J. Gernon, Sr., Shady Pond Tree Farm; Dr. Craig R. McKinley, North Carolina State University; Dennis Tompkins, former editor of the American Christmas Tree Journal; Dr. Melvin R. Koelling, Michigan State University; and NCTA and state Christmas Tree association members.

Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District
7312 RT 31 Lyons, NY 14489

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