New life for old Christmas trees

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Now that Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with the Christmas tree.

For those who have artificial trees, the solution is as simple as taking the tree apart, packing it back into the box or bag it came in, and replacing it wherever it is kept during the off season.

But for those who enjoy having a live tree, the end of the holidays can be a bit more challenging. However, there is also opportunity for those who have a creative itch to scratch.

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Getting rid of a live tree in Winchester is easy enough to do for most residents. Each year, Winchester Municipal Utilities offers tree pickup to customers. This year, pickup will occur from Jan. 8 to 11. To find the exact day WMU will come by a particular address, contact the utility at 744-1170.  All trees must be free of stands, have no lights or ornaments, should not be bagged and should be to the curb by 7 a.m. on the scheduled collection day. Trees can also be brought directly to the transfer station for disposal at no cost.

A haven for wildlife

One way to put an old Christmas tree to use is to make it a place where animals can gather. There are two different ways to do this. First, the tree can be placed outside and decorated with peanut butter pine cones and other small food items. Animals like birds, squirrels and chipmunks will use the tree as a feeder, giving the tree owner a chance to view some wildlife from the comfort of their home.

The other way to put a tree to use with animals is to make it a fish habitat. This is a viable option for people who have lakes or ponds on their property, especially if they are man made.

Man-made bodies of water often do not have the habitats of those naturally formed. Putting the tree into the water gives a place for small fish to hide from predators and provides nutrients.

For those who do not have a body of water on their property, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has several drop off points across the state where trees can be donated. A map of locations can be found at

Getting crafty

For those who enjoy working with their hands, a Christmas tree offers several crafty possibilities. lists several possibilities, ranging from cutting the tree trunk into wooden coasters, making air fresheners and teas out of pine needles, fashioning wreaths for next year out of old branches and more.

Trees can also be turned into mulch, a practical way to put the holiday decoration to work improving the look of a garden or flower bed.

The trunk of a Christmas tree can also be used as firewood in an outdoor fire pit. However, the branches of the tree burn hot and fast, and they can shoot sparks making them a potential hazard.