Using Christmas Trees as Mulch for the Garden

Walking through the neighborhood the other day, I was surprised to see "used" Christmas trees lying in people's front lawns. I saw two of them in a span of 3 blocks and it's the middle of January.

I thought about them the during the entire walk. I wanted them....

My half mulched garden bed

No - I am not a hoarder. Well unless we're talking about seeds, toilet paper, organic materials, and gardening supplies. Then I guess I might be...

One night after swim practice, we swung by the trash to spit out some gum and I noticed a half-eaten apple core in the garbage. I asked my kids, "is it wrong that I want to take that apple home?"

Not to eat, but to compost.  It takes everything in me not to knock on my neighbor's doors and ask for the leaf bags they set out with the trash each fall (in fact, I've decided that I'm asking from now on...and I might as well ask for their coffee grounds too.)

And so it is with the Christmas trees. I want to drag them home and cut off all their branches...and use them as mulch for the garden.

In the photo above, you can see that half of my beds are mulched with pine needles (that I picked up from a lady on craigslist who wanted them raked from her yard.) I got just enough for my blueberry bushes.

But I need a more long lasting - slug stabbing - mulch for the rest of the garden. I would get more pine needles if they were available, but why not spruce tips?

I imagine they would take just as long as pine needles to break down. They are spiky too, so slugs may not enjoy them. I want them to cover the soil, not act as compost, so I would keep the stems rather large. That would keep cutting down to a minimum.

I just convinced myself. Like the Grinch, I am off to steal the trees from their yards. Just kidding. I would totally ask.

My only concern now is that I have read they may be sprayed with chemicals to keep them looking "extra fresh" during the holiday season. Anyone know if this is true or if I can happily accept all used trees from here on out?


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