With the climate crisis escalating year on year, the concept of rebuying Christmas trees every festive season is starting to feel inexcusably wasteful. Is there something more environmentally friendly we could be doing with them? Mike Hartshorn, MD of Carbon Gold, shares some ideas…
If you’ve sagely invested in a real tree with roots attached, you’ve probably already decided against throwing it away at the end of the Yuletide. As long as it hasn’t been inside too long, has been kept in a cool room away from the crackling fire, and has had plenty of water, there’s no reason why you can’t pot it or plant it outside.
In order to reuse the same tree next year, potting the tree is the best option so that it can be easily brought back inside. Every year you’ll need to pot it on into a slightly bigger container to allow for growth, and you’ll need to use a really good compost. Some biochar-based Tree Soil Improver and Fertiliser will help lessen the shock the tree will experience being potted on and moved from the outside to the inside and back again each year.
When it’s outside, make sure it’s in a nice sunny spot and water it regularly as potted trees dry out much faster than trees planted in the ground. It should last a good few years as long as you only bring it inside for around 12 days each Christmas, but bear in mind that potted trees won’t live as long as if they were planted in the ground, and they won’t grow as big either.
For those considering planting the tree in the ground permanently, it’s important to remember that your festive friend will grow to quite a size – potentially as tall as 40m over 20 years. Unless you have a very large garden, keeping the Christmas tree in the pot will be a much safer option.
If you do want to make a spruce statement in your garden by planting your Christmas tree outside, it’s quite straightforward. All you need to do is dig a hole in an appropriate sunny spot in the garden around two to three times larger than the rootball of the tree, add in some biochar-based Tree Soil Improver to reduce transplant shock, plant the tree, and gently back fill the hole. Water and feed it well.
The more popular cut Christmas trees i.e. the ones without roots, cannot be replanted and will die eventually. Don’t despair though, there are some very environmentally sound options for reusing and recycling it in the New Year.
Most local councils do a kerbside collection for trees under 5ft in the first few weeks of January, so contact them to get your specific date or drop off point alternatives. Your local authority will shred the trees it collects and use the resulting chippings and mulch in local parks and woodlands. You can do this yourself if you need woodchips and you can use the needles to create mulch. Alternatively, you could use the branches as frames for climbers or to create wildlife shelters.
For those of you that have bought an artificial tree, you will already be reusing your tree; just make sure you store it carefully so you can use it for as many years as possible!
At Carbon Gold, our preference is to plant as many trees as possible, but as long as you keep the environment in mind while you have a very Merry Christmas, that’s all that really matters.
To find out more about biochar-based Soil Improvers and composts, visit, www.carbongold.com.