Skip to main content

Planning Ahead....Yet Another Use for "Spent" Christmas Trees


Always looking for ways to reuse items around the home, I've come across a great second chance for Christmas trees. In addition to running it through the chipper/shredder for mulch and trail cover or tossing it in a nearby lake for fish habitat, it can also serve as an instrument in vertical gardening.

Begin by cutting off the branches with a pruning shears (these may be processed into mulch). Leaving short stubs is beneficial to this venture, in that it provides additional anchorage sites for climbing vegetables such as cucumbers, peas and beans. Stubs left 4-6 inches long would allow a small melon to perch, potentially discouraging pathogenic diseases due to greater air circulation.

Once the branches have been removed, store the trunk in a cool, dry location until gardening season. Some folks may be interested in bringing the trunk out at Easter, constructing a cross focal point in their living room. Then in May, install three or four trunks in a full sun garden site, plant a few bean seeds, and voila, a vertical garden made from a recycled Christmas tree!

John Fech
John Fech
Extension Educator - Horticulture
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.

Contact John at:
Douglas/Sarpy County Extension
8015 W Center Road
Omaha, NE 68124-3175
(402) 444-7804

mail icon
link icon