I'm a gardening pro – four ways to reuse old Christmas trees in your garden and keep weeds away | The Sun

HAVINGa real Christmas tree may create a little extra mess as the needles start to fall – but there are plenty of perks to forgoing faux foliage.

Aside from the lovely fresh smell, you can also use them in your garden when you're finished with them and they're great for banishing weeds.

Many of the eight million Christmas trees bought across the country will be chucked away in the coming days.

But the founder of Gardening Express Chris Bonnett said: “There’s so much more that can be done with your real Christmas tree besides tossing it away. 

“Once the tree has fulfilled its festive purpose, it can be recycled and used for gardening, supporting wildlife or craft projects.

“Extending the life of your Christmas tree will not only allow you to make the most of it, but it’s also good for the environment.”

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1. Make mulch

Mulch can be used around the base of the plants in your garden and treats compaction and prevents soil erosion.

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You can mulch your Christmas tree using a shredder by feeding it one branch at a time.

The trunk will be too thick for the machine so can be dried out and used on a fire.

Chris said: “Let the tree dry, put the branches into a shredder and let the wood chips rot before using them to mulch around trees and shrubs.

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"If you don’t have a wood chipper then pine needles work well also since they dry quickly but decompose slowly.”

2. Use wood chips for paths

You can shred your Christmas tree into wood chips which can then be laid on paths.

The garden pro said: “A layer of wood chips will keep away weeds, hold moisture in the soil and create texture in the garden.”

3. Use branches as insulation and plant stakes

You can strip the branches off your festive tree and use them to protect your other plants from the cold weather.

Chris instructed: “Strip the branches of needles and use them to support tender and young plants during winter winds and frosts. 

“To prevent injuring the roots, plant the stakes about two to three inches from the plant's stem. Keep in mind to set the stake at an angle to give the plant more protection from winds.”

4. Create a wildlife shelter

For those who like to encourage the wildlife to venture into their garden, you can let the tree sit in your garden over winter.

Small animals can shelter under it and birds can nestle in the branches during the harsher months.

If you want to go the extra mile you could even hang food, fruit or seed cakes from the branches too.

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