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How To Properly Get Rid Of Your Live Christmas Tree

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Blog post, Polk County Government Florida December 28, 2023 by Krista Silva:


The holiday season is over and it’s time to put away your decorations. You’ve taken down the lights, packed up the ornaments and deflated the snowman on your lawn. So far, so good.

But what do you do with your Christmas tree?

How To Properly Get Rid Of Your Live Christmas Tree

Preparing Your Tree for Recycling

First, remove all the decorations from your tree, including ornaments, lights, garlands, stands, etc. Once the tree is bare, there are several options for recycling:

  • Chip and mulch – You can rent or buy a woodchipper and process the tree. Store the mulch for a year to let it age.
  • Help the birds – You can place the tree in your backyard, giving birds a new place to nest and feed.
  • Feed the fish – If you have a pond on your property, you can submerge the tree in the water. Once submerged, discarded Christmas trees can provide shelter for small insects, snails, etc. This, in turn, draws insect-loving fish to the area.

Preparing Your Tree for Disposal

If you live in unincorporated Polk County and you prefer disposal over recycling, you have options:

  • If it’s a natural tree, once you’ve removed all the decorations, you can place the tree curbside along with the rest of your yard waste on your collection day. (To find your collection day, go to www.polkwastewise.net. If the tree is taller than six feet, cut it in half.
  • If it’s an artificial tree, you can set it out on your Furniture & Appliance collection day. Or you can disassemble the tree and place it in your garbage bin.

Why Should I Recycle My Christmas Tree?

When you recycle your Christmas tree or dispose of it properly, you are giving back to the environment by creating a new use for the tree or by keeping it from clogging the landfill. By doing your part, you’re helping to make the end of the holiday season merry and bright.

If you have any questions about what to do with your tree, contact us at (863) 284-4319.

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