What's next for your Christmas tree?

If you have a live Christmas tree, it is probably starting to look more dead than alive at this point. Here are a few ideas for reusing your tree, and info on how to prep it for garbage pick up.

Giving your tree a second life:

Ideas for reusing your tree (from the City of Minneapolis):

  • Place the tree in the yard or garden for use by birds and other wildlife. The branches provide shelter from strong winds and cold. Food can be supplied by hanging fruit slices, seed cakes, or suet bags on its branches. You can also smear peanut butter and seeds in pine cones and hang them in the tree.
  • Prune off the branches and place the boughs over perennials as winter mulch.
  • Chip the tree and use as mulch around trees, shrubs, or in flower beds.

Garbage pick up for your tree:

If you don’t have a way to reuse the tree, you’ll need to set it out for garbage pick up. Unfortunately, the City of Minneapolis doesn’t recycle Christmas trees, they are considered seasonal garbage and are sent to the city’s incinerator. So to get rid of your tree, you will need to place it alongside your garbage cart on your garbage pick-up day. If your tree is taller than 6 feet, be sure to cut it in half.

What to do with lights:

If your Christmas lights are no longer working, you have a couple options:

1) Drop off your broken holiday lights at participating locations:

  • Frattallone’s Ace Hardware, 3915 E Lake St, 612-238-1100
  • Matthews Park, 2313 28th Ave S, 612-370-4950
  • Welna II Ace Hardware, 2201 E Franklin Ave, 612-332-4393

For more locations, see the map at Clean Energy Resource Teams. At the time this was published, all locations were confirmed drop-off points. However, we suggest you call before you go to make sure the drop-off boxes are still available. The program generally runs for the first two weeks of January.

2) If you aren’t able to make it to the drop-off locations, lights can be dropped off at Hennepin County’s Bloomington drop-off facility or Brooklyn Park drop-off facility. You will need proof of residency. Holiday lights, including LEDs are accepted at these sites year round. Locations and hours of operation are available on the Hennepin County website.

Other ideas?

Do you have other ideas on how to reuse live Christmas trees? Maybe you have suggestions on how to breathe new life into artificial trees that have seen one too many Christmases? Does your block host a neighborhood wood chipping event – where all of the trees are turned into wood chips for gardens? We’d love to hear your ideas.

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Rebekah Peterson's picture
Rebekah Peterson