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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

All that is left is the tree

STILLWATER, Okla. – The presents have all been opened. There are no more candied yams to stuff in your mouth. All of your company has left, and the Christmas decorations have been boxed up until next year.

Christmas is over, but what are you supposed to do with that tree?

To help with that question Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension specialists offer some suggestions.

“A lot of growers will let you bring them back and they’ll chip them and use them for mulch,” said Chuck Tauer, retired forest genetics professor at OSU. “They are organic.”

Checking with the Christmas tree farm you purchased your tree from is a good place to start. Growers that are members of the Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association will know about tree recycling programs recently started in surrounding communities.

For those who have a garden or nursery of their own, keeping the tree might not be a bad idea.

“I save the needles and the small limbs as mulch for the flower bed,” said Craig McKinley, retired OSU Cooperative Extension forestry specialist. “I leave the bigger pieces to be hauled off.”

There are many practical uses for discarded Christmas trees.

“Trees can be placed in the yard to add greenery and act as a bird haven until spring,” said David Hillock, OSU Cooperative Extension consumer horticulture specialist. “Trees also can be used to create a fish attractor by weighting the base of the tree and sinking it in a pond.”

Simply cutting the tree into sections and setting them out by the side of the road for a trash service to dispose of is a viable option.

“I don’t have a problem with throwing organic matter in the city dump. That’s not near as big of a problem as plastics,” Tauer said.

There are some places where a discarded Christmas tree should not end up.

“A lot of people will take them out in the country and throw them in a ditch,” Tauer said. “They don’t look any better than a couch does out there.”


Sean Hubbard
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
145 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4490
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078