Life

Three ways to recycle your Christmas tree after festive season

It's time to get your home back in order after the festive season, but where do you dispose of your Christmas tree? We offer 3 recycling tips

It's worth ringing your council to see if your local dustmen may come to collect your tree

THE festive season is almost over, so it's time to start thinking about ditching the decorations and making more space in your home again. But how do you dispose of your tree?

1. Ring the local authority: If you don't want to squeeze your tree into the car and take it to your nearest recycling centre, it's worth ringing your council to see if your local dustmen may come to collect it. Often councils allocate specific days when the Christmas tree collection will take place. Some may want you to chop up the tree and put it in your garden waste bin. Others may let you just leave the tree next to your regular bins for collection. For details of recycling centres go to www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling.

2. Shred it: There are many machines on the market that will shred your tree, provided it is in small enough pieces to insert into the shredder. Christmas tree shreddings can then make an effective mulch around shrubs and trees and help suppress weeds and retain moisture. Make sure you cut the branches into sections small enough for a shredder to manage, so you'll need loppers and secateurs at the ready.

Some gardeners worry the pine needles will affect the soil's acid content, as pine trees grow in acid-based soil, but as the needles decompose they lose their acidity. You won't be able to shred the trunk because it will be too thick, but if you have a wood-burning stove or open fire, cut up the trunk with an axe and dispose of the manageable pieces in your burner.

3. Replant pot-grown trees: If you have a container-grown or rootballed tree, you should be able to replant it. Make sure the rootball of your live tree is kept damp over the festive season to give it the best chance to take in your garden. It should be dormant while indoors but if it looks like it's coming out of dormancy, place it in a cold spot outside for a few days before replanting.

Either plant it out in the garden, digging a hole at least twice the size of the rootball and backfilling with compost, or grow it on in a container, moving it into a bigger pot annually using soil-based John Innes No. 2, so you can bring it indoors again next year. Trees that are already cut when you bought them will not regrow as they don't have any remaining roots.

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