ParentClick Santa Barbara

Christmas trees… from choosing to recycling


First you have to find the perfect tree and then a few weeks later, you have to find a way to get rid of it.

  • Decide on the size you want (measure your space at home).
  • Decide on your budget. Some of the bigger businesses like grocery stores will have inexpensive trees but they will not always be as fresh.
  • Test the freshness by pulling on a branch and seeing if the needles stay on or fall off. With fresh trees, the needles should stay on and be flexible.
  • Noble Firs tend to be more durable and do better with the heat in the house. They are also great for hanging ornaments.
  • It is nice to go to lots where you can easily view the trees that are in stands and soaking in water rather than the ones lying in a bunch.
  • You want a tree that is still able to drink water! Make sure to have the bottom of your tree cut before taking it home and then put it straight into a stand with water.

  • For information on what to do with your Christmas Tree when it is ready to be taken down, visit the local recycling company. Many will take your tree and some of the trash services will also pick them up when they pick up the green waste. Make sure you remove all ornaments and lights.



After the holidays, you don’t have to throw your natural tree away! Here are some tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays:

  • Removing the tree: The best way to avoid a mess removing your tree is to place a plastic tree bag (which are available at hardware stores) underneath the stand when you set the tree up! You can hide it with a tree skirt. Then, when the holidays are done, pull the bag up around the tree, stand and all, and carry it outside. Obviously, you will want to remove the stand before recycling the tree. If some needles do scatter inside, it is better to sweep them up; as needles can clog vacuum cleaners.
  • Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.  Mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation.
  • Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for river beds.
  • Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make excellent refuge and feeding area for fish. Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed). Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.
  • Living, rooted trees: Of course, next year, you could get a rooted (ball and burlapped or containerized) tree and then plant it in your yard after Christmas.  (It’s a good idea to pre-dig the hole in the late Fall while the soil is still soft.) NOTE: Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates like ours.
  • Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.  Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup.
December 22, 2015

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