EXPERT TIPS… RECYCLING CHRISTMAS
Mick Lavelle, gardening expert and senior lecturer in horticulture at Writtle University College, offers seasonal advice
As the festive hullabaloo comes to its ineluctable end, for some, early January is simply a matter of packing away decorations and committing to a range of soonto-be-broken resolutions. If your Christmas display involved living or natural elements, though, it leaves the matter of what to do with it all come the 6th of January?
On the 12th day…
Top of this list is, almost invariably, the Christmas tree. In the UK, around 8 million natural Christmas trees are sold each year. While a few of these are potted specimens, most are cut trees. The problem has become so well established that many local authorities now arrange drop-off points or special collections of ‘real’ trees in early January. While seemingly wasteful, it does mean the trees are recycled into useful garden mulch.
If you invested in a pot-grown tree, however, you may be able to reuse it next year. You will need to pot it on – into a larger pot – and then water and feed it through the coming year. If you planned to plant it in the garden, however, consider that such trees grow very large, often reaching around 15-20 metres in 20 years; some eventually achieve 40m.
Wreaths, garlands, table posies, poinsettias and other ‘living’ plant items and natural decorations must also be dealt with. Make it one of your New Year resolutions to take a trip to the January sales to buy a good quality garden shredder.
You can then create some readily compostable material, which you can give as a ‘gift’ to the garden next winter in the form of nutritious, well-rotted compost mulch.
Happy gardening year!