What to Do With Those Discarded Christmas Trees

Make a raised bed by piling old logs up and covering them with dirt. The rotting wood makes excellent fertilizer!
From a mat just outside your door to a sieve for straining liquids, there are countless uses for your Christmas trees once the holiday season is over. We've compiled a list below of some of our favorites (thanks to www.permies.com for these great ideas!):

Excellent for keeping the mud and other barn gick out of your house, simply lay the small branches in a pile just outside your house. This can also help with traction on slippery days. Not just frugal, but free! It doesn't just have to be Christmas trees, either. You can use any conifer/pine/fir/spruce branches. Wipe your feet in the winter, and then the branches break down to feed the soil in spring:


Christmas trees also make great fish habitat. In one instance, individuals took broken cement blocks to make fish habitat in a new flood-control dam: "We got broken cement blocks for free from a local vender and drilled a hole through the trunk of the trees. We then strung the trees and cement blocks together with a cable. The flood-control lake was totally flat on the bottom and offered no place for small fish to hide. When the lake was first filled, the trees were in place. The trees rot after a few years, but the lake is now one of the best bass fisheries in the area."

Discarded trees also make great chicken coop bedding:

Or how about Hugulkultur?
Hugulkultur garden after one month
Hugelkultur is nothing more than making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. This makes for raised garden beds loaded with organic material, nutrients, air pockets for the roots of what you plant, etc. As the years pass, the deep soil of your raised garden bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life. As the wood shrinks, it makes more tiny air pockets - so your hugelkultur becomes sort of self tilling. The first few years, the composting process will slightly warm your soil giving you a slightly longer growing season. The woody matter helps to keep nutrient excess from passing into the ground water - and then refeeding that to your garden plants later. Plus, by holding SO much water, hugelkultur could be part of a system for growing garden crops in the desert with no irrigation.
They also make great bird feeders and shelters:
When blizzards hit, place the tree right up against one of your house windows for entertainment. Remove the window screen so you can just open the window and re-stock the seed and suet cakes just after a storm. On the windowsill, place a short board that has a section of hollow log that has a "port" hole in one side for easy viewing which provides shelter and three way access for wrens. In the springwhen the tree has turned brown, reuse the branches to smother out poison ivy where ever it may be growing.

Got another great use for discarded Christmas trees? Share them with us at info@betterfarm.org.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.