The Christmas holiday season is almost over and if you have a live tree, you will soon be taking the tree down and getting your house in order. But once you take the lights and decorations off where are you going to put your tree. If you’re like most people, you take the tree to the curb and let the trash man pick it up and haul it away. Some cities have recycling centers for old Christmas trees, but if you are an avid gardener, you will keep your tree and put it to good use. Instead of filling up the landfills with them, here are some handy ways that you can reuse the trees to benefit you and your environment.
Cut Off the Branches
Take your tree outdoors and cut the ranches off. You can lay the branches over tender perennials to provide them with extra winter protection. This acts like a blanket, protecting plants from windburn. If you have plants growing that are not totally winter hardy in your area, the tree boughs will give them that layer of insulation. Place the pine branches over plants that may come up early before the season is ready.
Put Your Tree in a Pond
If you have a pond on your property, you can sink your tree into the water. Sink your tree in deep or shallow water. By sinking the tree in deep water, you will be providing habitats for fish and other aquatic insects. If you leave your tree in shallow waters, then this acts like a barrier to sand or soil erosion.
Recycle Your Tree at the Municipal Compost Site
If you don’t have a pond or a yard of your own to use up the parts of your tree, find out if your town or city has a municipal compost site. By doing this, you won’t be wasting the life of the tree, you’ll be sharing it. Some places grind the trees into wood chips and/or compost and then in the spring they give away free compost or wood chips to people with gardens. If more people did this instead of throwing the trees away, the land would be healthier. The organic matter from the trees goes back into the ground to replenish what other plants take out.
Provide Homes for Birds
Provide a home for birds during the winter months. Leave the tree in a stand and take it outside. If you don’t want to leave your stand outdoors during the winter months, you can make one by nailing two pieces of board together and then nailing it to the bottom of your tree trunk. This will provide shelter and food for the birds that visit your yard. You can also decorate your tree by hanging bird treats or a bird feeder on its branches. Some of the various types of bird treads you can use are bags of suet; pine cones smeared with peanut butter and then dipped in a mixture of bird seed. If you don’t have any pinecones, you can use a piece of wood or a thick piece of cardboard. It can be like a Christmas tree for the birds and other animal life. Each time you look out your window and see your tree, you will find something beautiful and entertaining to watch through the long winter months.
Balled or Burlapped
If you purchased a balled or burlapped Christmas tree, then all you need to do is plant it outdoors for a yearly, living reminder of that special Christmas.