When it’s time to take down your Christmas tree, you’ll need to know how to properly dispose of your Christmas tree if you purchased a real tree. There are multiple ways to dispose of or recycle your Christmas tree, including curbside pickup, drop-off locations for mulching, easy backyard composting, or you can even give it to the GOATS!
When you take it down is up to you, but don’t forget to continue to water your tree until a few days before you’re ready to take it down. If your tree dries out too much, it may shed needles as you remove the ornaments. Dried out Christmas trees are also flammable, so leaving a dried out tree in your house for too long is a safety hazard.
In many communities, real Christmas trees are picked up curbside in January. Some communities pick up Christmas Trees on regular yard waste days, while others pick up on specific days. Check with your city or community for curbside pickup specifics, as these may change year-to-year.
No matter which method you choose, make sure you remove ALL decorations, hooks, string, tinsel, clips, lights, and any other non-organic material before you get rid of your tree.
Read below for some of the disposal and recycling options available in Central Ohio!
Back to nature in your Backyard
If you have a little bit of a yard or wooded area, one of the best options for wildlife is to put it in your backyard or the woods. Place your tree in an area out of the way such as behind a shed, among the trees, or even propped on a fence, or in your garden.
Your tree will provide an amazing habitat for birds during winter months when shelter and food sources are low. You can even “decorate” it with pinecones spread with peanut butter, birdseed ornaments, and other food sources for birds.
Composting your tree in your garden can enrich your soil and provide habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators. Lay your tree in your garden area over the winter, and by spring it will have lost most of the needles. Cut the branches and the trunk, and lay them around the garden.
The branches will hold moisture and enrich the soil while continuing to provide habitat. You can always dispose of the tree with yard waste at a later date if you don’t want to wait for them to compost naturally through the fall. People pay good money for pine bark mulch to enrich their soil, and you can add it naturally at no extra cost!
If you have a composter or compost pile, you can cut the tree into manageable pieces and add it to your compost, either after you leave it as habitat through the winter and spring, or right away.
Give it to the Goats!
I admit…we are a little obsessed with the goats at Harrison Farm, thanks to goat yoga (returning in Spring!). It turns out that the goats love Christmas trees as much as I love the goats!
You can drop off your holiday tree at Harrison Farm in Groveport anytime through the winter. It’s super simple – just place the trees next to the wooden fence that runs by the road in front of the big red barn (you won’t miss it). There will likely be other tree donations laying there over the next couple of weeks.
Note: Goats cannot have trees with paint or glitter. Yew is highly poisonous and is commonly used in evergreen wreaths, so please just leave your tree if you are unsure of what your wreaths or garland is made from.
They’ll take as many trees as are donated, and the goats even enjoy them even if they have dried out a little bit.
Harrison Farm, 5278 Berger Road Groveport, OH 43125. See more details and connect on Facebook.
If you know of other goat farms, they may be accepting trees too!
Let it Swim with the Fishes at Alum Creek!
This unique way to donate your tree will help the fish in Alum Creek! On Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 9 am – 2 pm, you can drop off your Christmas tree at the Alum Creek Visitor Center. The trees will be used to create artificial fish habitats and dropped into the lake.
Make sure ALL decorations are removed before donating. Trees treated with any chemicals or paint/glitter should not be donated.
They received over 1000 trees last year and were able to donate some of the extras to sister partners such as Deer Creek.
See Facebook post here.
Alum Creek Visitor Center: 5905 Lewis Center Rd, Lewis Center, OH 43035
Christmas Tree Disposal for Columbus Residents
Rumpke, the city’s waste and recycling provider, will provide curbside pickup of holiday trees free-of-charge on residents’ regular yard waste collection day. See details here.
- Remove lights, ornaments, tinsel & decorations
- Place the tree curside by 6 am on yard waste collection day
- Trees 8 feet or taller should be cut in half
- Do not bag in plastic (these will not be removed)
Yard waste and recycling are collected on the same day every other week in Columbus. Find out when yard waste is collected in their neighborhoods by calling 614-645-3111 or by visiting http://311.columbus.gov/colorday.
Christmas Tree Drop off options
Residents can dispose of their Holiday trees at the following free yard waste drop-off locations to be mulched:
Com-Til Compost Facility:
7000 Jackson Pike, Columbus (614) 645-3152
More information about Com-Til. Call ahead to confirm drop-off availability.
Accepts yard waste for composting. Free for residents of Franklin County.
Kurtz Bros. and Mulch Manufacturing Inc.:
May need proof of Columbus or Franklin County residency
2850 Rohr Road, Groveport (Kurtz Bros.); (614) 491-0868
6055-C Westerville Road, Westerville (Kurtz Bros.); (614) 882-0200
6279 Houchard Road, Dublin (Kurtz Bros.); (614) 873-2000
6747 Taylor Road S.W. (Mulch Manufacturing, Inc.); (614) 864-4004
May need a driver’s license/identification as a Franklin County resident, otherwise you will be charged.
4120 Roberts Road, Columbus (Ohio Mulch); (614) 921-9330
4665 Westerville Rd. (Ohio Mulch); (614) 891-3242
1600 Universal Rd. (Ohio Mulch); (614) 445-4455
2541 Harrisburg Pike (Ohio Mulch); (614) 594-0270
537 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Rd. (Ohio Mulch); (614) 863-0445
The Christmas trees you set out for yard waste pick-up in your community go to one of SWACO’s sponsored compost facilities. Please be sure to remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel, and other decorations. Trees over 6-7 feet may need to be cut in half for pickup. See details for your local community. Artificial trees aren’t accepted with yard waste.
Dublin Christmas Tree Recycling – Curbside Mondays
City of Dublin residents can contribute their real tree to the yard waste composting program. Trees will be picked up each Monday in January. Place Christmas trees at the curb by 7 am on Mondays (no wrapping or bags). You’ll need to cut your tree into lengths of no more than 4 feet.
The City of Dublin makes it easy for you to get rid of those real trees with our curbside pickup and residential yard waste composting program.
For details of the Christmas tree recycling program or the City’s recycling, yard waste diversion and composting programs, call 614.410.4750.
Prairie Township Christmas Tree Recycling
Prairie Township residents can leave their trees at the curb on the first three Thursdays after Christmas Day. All decorations should be removed and trees placed at the curb, free of any wrapping or bags, by 7 a.m. on Thursday. For details of the Christmas tree recycling program call 878-3316.
What NOT to do with your real Christmas Tree
Do not dispose of your tree in a manner for which you don’t have permission.
Don’t send it to the landfill if you have other options.
Most importantly, never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.