Plant it in the garden or recycle it: Giving your Christmas tree a green goodbye

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With Christmas celebrations all but over, it’s now time to decide how you’re going to say “goodbye” to your Christmas tree. Will you plant it in your garden or recycle it?

In 2019, over 14 tonnes of real Christmas trees were collected by Bedford Borough Council and sent for composting.

But, if you have a real tree with a rootball, then you may be able to plant it in your garden.

Planting a tree

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says real trees with a rootball can be planted in the garden, or in a pot if you want to bring it indoors the following year.

You may need to move it into a bigger pot annually until you reach the maximum size that you’re happy with. The RHS recommend soil-based John Innes No 2 potting media.

Once planted, Christmas trees need very little training when grown outdoors but you may need to prune occasionally to maintain an attractive shape and remove any strong upright branches that compete with the leading stem.

As with any trees, prune away any dead, diseased or dying branches.

Christmas trees planted in pots will be limited in their size by the size of the pot. They may also only live for a few years as they’re not naturally suited to pot cultivation.

But if planted out in the garden they can reach a height of about 15-20m (50-65ft) in twenty years, and possible eventual heights of about 40m (130ft).

Recycling your tree

For cut trees, or if you don’t have the space to plant yours in a pot or garden, Christmas trees can be dropped off at recycling sites between 31 December and Monday 11 January.

“Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, and getting it composted is a great, green way to deal with your tree after Christmas,” said Cllr Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport.

Once all decorations and containers are removed, you can drop your tree at one of the following sites:

  • Hillgrounds Road, Kempston – Opposite the shops near Hartwell Drive
  • Jubilee Park, Bedford – Opposite North Lodge, Canvin Way
  • Milton Ernest Garden Centre – Radwell Road
  • Mowsbury Park car park – off Kimbolton Road
  • Podington Garden Centre – High Street, Podington
  • Roxton Garden Centre – Bedford Road, Roxton near A1 Black Cat roundabout
  • Seasons Garden Centre, Wilstead – Bedford Road, Wilstead
  • Household Waste Recycling Centre – Barkers Lane, Bedford. (You must book an appointment at the Household Waste Recycling Centre Webpage)

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