After Christmas, What to Do with Your Tree?

Did you opt for a real Christmas tree this year? A lot of us grapple with the choice between real and fake, weighing the proverbial environmental impact of one vs. the other. One dilemma people face with a real tree is, what do I do with it after the holidays?

Mulch it! While your tree was alive, it benefited the planet, and it can continue to contribute to a healthy ecosystem. Chipping up your tree is a great way to create vital organic matter that is ideal to put on top of the soil–similar to a natural forest. After all, it’s only trash if you throw it away. Look for a tree recycling location that turns it into mulch. Or DIY it and borrow or rent a chipper and use the mulch on your garden beds.

Now you may be asking, “Can I hire someone to do all this for me?”

Yep. And, luckily, some services don’t cost a whole lot. If you are in SoCal, try California Christmas Tree Recycling ( The company serves the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, with costs starting at $25. A crew comes in after the holidays, removes the stand, vacuums up, and takes the tree to be mulched. They even donate a portion of the proceeds to TreePeople. And that’s a holiday tradition we love!

By Lisa Cahill

Lisa Cahill first began her work with TreePeople as a volunteer Citizen Forester. She currently serves on the board of directors for the reDiscover Center, continues to volunteer as a Citizen Forester, has been on the Mar Vista Green Garden Tour and serves on several green committees at her church and children's schools. She most enjoys working in the garden with her husband, watching her children and vegetables grow.