Monday, December 24, 2018

In the Garden – What to do with the Christmas tree?

Ruth de Jauregui

Credit: shaneclements / Morguefile.com

While the festivities tonight and tomorrow probably feature a cut tree, decorated to the max and lit by numerous lights, it's likely that the tree is already too dry to leave up for more than a few more days. Many cities have Christmas tree pickup after the holidays, and in some areas, there are non-profits that pick up trees for a nominal fee.

Credit: earl53 / Morguefile.com
Though these are always options, gardeners can continue to enjoy their tree for months after the holidays have passed. There are several ways the needles and a bare tree can be incorporated into the landscape.

Consider taking the entire tree outside, stand and all, after removing the fragile decorations, tinsel, garlands and lights. Shake the tree over a tarp to remove as many dead needles as possible. Then place the tree (in the stand) outside of a window or sliding door where you can enjoy the show.

String popcorn or dried berries to make a garland, and wrap it around the tree for the birds. Hang pine cones smeared with peanut butter from the branches. Suspend little homemade bird feeders filled with seed or small hummingbird feeders for the little birds. Add solar-powered twinkle lights to add night interest.

 Quail - Credit: rollingroscoe / Morguefile.com
Pesticide- and flocking-free trees can be put into the garden pond to serve as shelter and egg-laying habitat for fish, frogs and amphibians. Don't drop off trees (or other organic matter and trash) into public waters though; it can generate a significant fine for dumping.

Anna's Hummingbird - Credit: Becky Matsubara / Flickr
Country gardeners can simply set the tree outside for bunny and bird shelters. Placed out in the back forty, the tree will gradually decompose. Meanwhile, quail, ground squirrels, wild rabbits and other wildlife will enjoy the addition to their habitat.

Cut the small twigs from the tree and use them as supports for flowers. Larger branches can be set aside and used to stake tomatoes, peas, green beans and other fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer garden. The denuded trunk can be used as a border for flower or vegetable beds.

While some creative gardeners cut the trunk of the tree into rounds to use as coasters and trivets or to line paths, be aware that most species used as Christmas trees have sticky sap. Clean the saw carefully after cutting the trunk into discs. Allow the wood to dry completely before painting or coating with varnish or polyurethane.

Credit: davidpwhelan / Morguefile.com
Put the dry needles on the compost pile, or spread them over flowerbeds as a natural mulch. If a chipper is available, chip the entire tree for mulch. When spring arrives, dig the needles or chips into the soil. All soils benefit from the added organic matter. It lightens clay soils and helps sandy soils retain moisture.

Check out my other In the Garden articles; the links are at the bottom of my #OurAuthorGang profile.


COMMENTS

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Erika M Szabo shared this via Google+

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Thank you for sharing!

Ruth de Jauregui

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BTW friends, we have a spam post I muted and reported. It wouldn't let me delete it entirely.

Spammers, we stay on top of this, don't bother!!
 
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Tricia Drammeh

1 month ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Good information, Ruth! Merry Christmas to you!
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Thank you! No need to waste all that organic stuff if you have a garden!

Chris Weigand

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Merry Christmas
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Merry Christmas!

Chris Weigand shared this via Google+

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Thank you for sharing!

Toi Thomas via Google+

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Today, Ruth de Jauregui offers fun and sensible tips for recycling trees after the holidays. #OurAuthorGang
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Thank you! Gardeners have many options for their trees!

Joe Bonadonna

1 month ago  -  Shared publicly
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, AND A JOYOUS NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!
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And Merry Christmas to you too! May you have many new adventures in the New Year!
 
+Ruth de Jauregui -- thank you! And all the best that Christmas and the New Year can bring to you!

Joe Bonadonna

1 month ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Some excellent ideas here, Ruth. I never knew about any of this!
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Thank you Joe!
 
+Ruth de Jauregui - you're welcome!

Joe Bonadonna via Google+

1 month ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Christmas Eve on #OurAuthorGang . . . today Ruth de Jauregui​ talks about what to do with your tree after you take it down.
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Thank you for sharing!
 
+Ruth de Jauregui - you're welcome!

Erika M Szabo

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Great advice for those who have gardens :)
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Thank you Erika! No need to waste that perfectly good, dried-out tree!

Ruth de Jauregui via Google+

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My contribution to #OurAuthorGang today.

May you all have a wonderful holiday season!
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Ruth de Jauregui

1 month ago  -  Shared publicly
 
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, may whatever you choose to celebrate be awesome and lead into a fabulous New Year!!

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