We are getting closer to the BIG December day and the festive feel is in full swing. Presents are being wrapped, children are getting excited about Santa’s visit, and through almost every window, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree can be seen.
It wasn’t always this way. Mini history lesson for you…
Christmas trees began as a pagan tradition as pagans would bring evergreen trees and plants into their homes to bring light and colour during winter solstice.
The more traditional view of a Christmas tree started in Germany in the sixteenth century when trees would be decorated with edibles and candles. The custom became popular in Germany and spread to royalty.
It is believed that the UK sealed its love for this tradition when Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, had an illustration published in 1848 of their family gathered around a Christmas tree. Soon every British home followed suit.
In the present day, around 25 million real Christmas trees are bought every year and there are many famous magnificent trees around the whole world.
In the UK, the Norwegian spruce that stands over 20 metres high can be seen every year in Trafalgar Square. This year it was erected on 3rd December so if your area’s coronavirus restrictions allow, it is there for all to gaze at. If not, there is always next year!
The Parisian Galeries Lafayette Christmas tree is spectacular. There is always a theme and this year it’s ‘travel’. Quite ironic for a year when most of us haven’t travelled further than our local supermarket!
The Rockefeller tree in New York is one of the most famous Christmas trees as it has been featured in some festive family films such as Elf and Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York. Plus, thousands flock here throughout December to ice skate or dine beneath the glistening tree. This year, there is a live streaming for those who are unable to be there is person –https://www.rockefellercenter.com/holidays/rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-lighting/
So, Christmas trees play a huge part in the festive season, but what happens to all these trees when the new year has hit, and we are all concentrating more on January sales and resolutions? Instead of sending your used tree to landfill, there are plenty of other ways to recycle or upcycle which is better for the environment and saves taxpayers the disposal costs.
The most environmentally friendly option is simply to replant it in the garden. Trees are more resilient than you realise so with a little tender loving care, you could have a strong and magnificent looking tree to provide summer shade AND be ready to decorate for when December comes around again.
You need to ensure that your tree still has its root ball intact, to be able to grow. It also helps if it has not been inside for longer than 10 days and kept away from heat. The main steps would be to:
- Place in a cool sheltered area like a garage or shed for a few days to acclimatise
- Dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the root ball
- Place the tree in the hole and cover with excavated soil and mulch.
- Give the tree lots of water!
Another option is to turn it into mulch which can then be placed around your existing trees and plants. Mulch retains moisture in the soil, gives soil health and helps with weed control so it will be beneficial for your garden. You would need a chipper/shredder to do this so you may need to invest or borrow. Read more in this article from Gardening Know How: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/mulch/benefits-of-using-mulch.htm
You could use the branches as edging, plant supports or protection for your plants. This may require some creative talent to bend, intertwine and weave the branches, and perhaps you could use garden string to bind and wood glue to stick.
For those of you that have that artistic flair, the possibilities are endless! All you need is a saw and space to make a mess. Your tree could be cut into slices and turned into shelves, placemats, a candleholder and so much more.
If you haven’t got the time or inclination to carry out any of the above, then you have the option to give to a local zoo who will gladly accept cut trees as a toy for a lion or a tasty treat for an elephant!
Or you could find your nearest Christmas tree recycling centre by entering your postcode at this site – https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/christmas-trees-1
Whatever you decide, make sure you enjoy the beauty of your real Christmas tree at home throughout the Christmas period first, and have a wonderful festive break!
From us all at Thames Valley Landscapes.