How to dispose of Christmas trees: Proper timing and methods

It would not be Christmas without a fresh fir, but the day will eventually come when it is time to kick it to the curb. 

After gifts are opened and the holidays are celebrated, merrymakers should remove real Christmas trees from inside the home when the evergreen becomes overly dry to the touch, for safety’s sake. 

A spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, Doug Hundley, told Fox News Digital previously that this is generally the best time to dispose of a tree, but he urged homeowners not to just haul it to the trash.


While these trees bring joy and warmth to our homes during the holiday season, their disposal requires careful consideration to minimize environmental impact and promote sustainability.

“Most, if not all, county and city governments offer real Christmas tree pick-up or drop-off locations,” Hundley said. 

“They will all be either recycled by chipping into mulch or reused for wildlife habitats. If you live in a rural area you can burn it or let it biodegrade outdoors in a brush pile.”

Individuals in rural areas might find ways to repurpose the trees within their properties. 

This can include using the tree as wildlife habitat, creating natural barriers or erosion control or incorporating the branches into compost or garden mulch.

If burning a tree, however, Hundley urged caution.

“Avoid burning a used Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace,” he said. “They can burn too hot and possibly cause chimney fires.”

It is important to prioritize safety and environmental responsibility when considering burning Christmas trees as a disposal method, ensuring compliance with local regulations and taking necessary precautions to prevent any potential risks.

Speaking on behalf of the National Trade Association for the Christmas tree industry, Hundley explained why real trees are the most environmentally friendly festive firs.


“They absorb and store carbon dioxide as they grow, and are totally biodegradable when disposed of,” he said. 

“After reusing, chipping or burning, they return to soil in a very short time. They have three to 10 times less of a carbon footprint compared to a typical plastic artificial tree.”

As Christmas connoisseurs know well, real evergreen trees, garlands and wreaths “fit naturally into the history of Christmas and winter solstice celebrations over thousands of years of history.”

Overall, their ability to sequester carbon and biodegrade naturally, plus their sustainable cultivation practices, make real trees an environmentally responsible choice for holiday decorations.

Can’t bear the idea of saying goodbye to your festive fir so soon? 

Offering a pro tip for extending the life of your tree, Hundley recommended cutting off half an inch of the trunk before bringing it inside your home to open the cambium layer of the bark.

By considering these options for Christmas tree disposal, we can extend the life cycle of these trees and contribute to sustainable practices. 

Letting our holiday trees serve a purpose beyond the festive season aligns with a mindful approach to caring for the environment and promoting a greener future.

Janine Puhak contributed reporting. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.



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