Here’s what you can do with your Christmas tree after the holidays

Many communities offer pickup services for Christmas trees starting on Jan. 2, but there’s several other environmentally friendly things that you can do with your tree after the holiday season ends.

Since Christmas trees are biodegradable, you can easily toss them into your compost pile in your backyard after removing the decorations. To speed up the decomposition process, you should either shred or chop your tree in to small pieces.

If you’re not up to composting your tree yourself, Home Depot accepts undercoated trees for free. The hardware supply store uses a wood chipping process to convert Christmas trees into mulch. 

FILE: A couple moves a freshly sawn Christmas tree. (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

“Chipping the trees will produce mulch that will eventually break down and form compost* *that is beneficial as a soil amendment after it has degraded from its original state,” Home Depot said on its website.

An old Christmas tree can be an excellent home for wildlife in the cold winter months. Set your tree outside in your backyard and watch how quickly animals like birds and rabbits flock to it.

For those with a green thumb, a Christmas tree can be used as a handy resource in your garden. 

Many people cut the branches off their trees and lay them over their perennials. The covering from the branches will serve as a protective barrier from the frigid temperatures that threaten the livelihood of your plants during the winter. 

Wood from Christmas trees can also be a good source of fuel for fires. But be sure to only burn the wood outdoors since Christmas tree wood when burned produces high amounts of creosote, which is a toxin that can easily cause an indoor fire to get out of hand quickly.

One of the most alluring things about Christmas trees is their scent. Pine needles can be collected to make the perfect home fragrance.