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The Giving Tree: Christmas Tree Recycling

As I mentioned in my dump post from the other day, we no longer have the luxury of curbside recycling. Turns out it’s not a big deal for every day items, but it posed an interesting dilemma when it came time to dispose of our Christmas tree. Back in Boston, the town would come by and whisk away our tree with the regular recycling. All we had to do was drag it to the curb. Now, getting rid of our tree requires a little more thought.

I considered a number of options: 1) throw it in the woods and let nature take its course; 2) throw it out back and save it for the compost pile in the spring; 3) mulch it; or 4) chop it up and use it for firewood next year.

I chose option 4. Frankly, it sounded like the most fun.

Disclaimer: I DO realize that eventually burning our tree is not the most environmentally friendly option. I am experiencing a little bit of guilt for that. I also realize that coniferous wood generally makes for pretty bad firewood; however, we don’t plan to burn it indoors and will save it for use in our outdoor fire pit. After some thought, I knew our little tree would yield a pretty insignificant amount of wood, so I felt okay about moving ahead with option 4.

On to the fun part. I dragged our tree out to a nice, flat spot in our driveway.

Our poor tree, about to meet her fate

And then I began the tedious work of stripping off all of the small, needle-holding branches. I used regular garden pruners for this part of the job. The pruners easily cut through the tiny branches at the top of the tree. The larger branches at the base of the tree were a little more stubborn, but the pruner did its job.

The end result was so sad – it reminded me of what poor Foster looks like after a haircut.

Scrawny and skinned

I then took a hand saw and cut the trunk into approximately 18 inch logs. Our 7 1/2 foot tree yielded five meager pieces of firewood, but that’s five more than we had before.

The start of our wood pile

Once the smaller branches dry a bit more, I’ll strip the needles and we’ll have a nice pile of kindling and/or stakes for this year’s garden. And the needles will be a nice addition to our compost pile in the spring.

It truly was the Giving Tree.

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