Millions of people put up a live Christmas tree for the holiday. Now that Christmas is over, they have to determine what to do with it. According to experts, the worst thing you can do is to drag your tree to the curb. You should aim to keep it from overflowing landfills. There are five better ways to discard it.

1. Make the tree into mulch

Your tree can still be useful after the holidays. Make your tree into mulch by cutting off the branches and putting them on the ground to protect plants. The mulch will be a good covering to keep plants from windburn.

Also, it keeps young plants alive when they come up early.

2. Give it to the birds

You have enjoyed your tree. Now let the birds enjoy it too. That can happen if you move the tree still in its stand outdoors for the winter. The tree can provide food and shelter for wild birds. It would be a good idea to put the tree near a bird feeder. Hang bird treats from the branches. You can punch a hole through a thick piece of cardboard and smear a mixture of birdseed and peanut butter on it. If you say that idea is "for the birds," then you are right. It will attract birds and feed them too.

3. Give it to the fish

Don't make fish jealous. Feed the tree to them just like you have given it to the birds. You can get permission to put your tree in a pond where it will become food for fish and aquatic insects.

Besides, when placed in shallow wetlands, your tree can be a barrier to sand and soil erosion.

4. Turn your tree into wood chips

Usually, there is a special day that your city will pick up Christmas trees.

Simply call your municipality's administrative office to find out the day for the pickup so your tree can be ground into compost or wood chips. The remains of your tree will be mixed with other people's trees, but that doesn't matter because they will help other gardeners just as they are helping you.

5. Turn it into a garden trellis

After you take the decorations off of your tree, take it outside. Leave it in a corner of your yard where it will be out of sight and out of everybody's way. Next spring, set it up in your garden as a trellis for vegetables such as peas or beans to grow up on it.

Let your tree be useful after the holidays are over. You can be sure it does not clog a landfill if you use one of the above suggestions. Make sure you let your friends and neighbors know about these ways so they will know how to recycle their Christmas tree.

Keep in mind that these suggestions are not for your artificial tree. Simply box it up and put it back in the attic to be used again next year.