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Think Before You Chunk

By Amanda Whatley Owen

web posted December 27, 2017
GARDENING Christmas time, that joyous time of year that you decorate your home, wrap presents, cook delicious meals, and purchase a Christmas tree. 

There are some folks who prefer the artificial trees because they are less of a mess, and you can re-use them year after year.  Then there are folks who like to stay traditional and visit their local tree farm, or nearby wooded area, to cut down their own tree. 

For those traditionalists, here are a few ideas about what to do with that Christmas tree after the Holidays have come and gone.  Some of these ideas may save you a few dollars.  Like you, I personally enjoy getting the most out of things for my money!

1. Bird Feeder or critter home.  Take the entire tree to the back of your property.  You can keep it in the stand, lean it on something, or lay it on the ground.  Now is also a good time to use any left over holiday snacks that are going bad.  Decorate the tree in pinecones with peanut butter, popcorn strands, cranberries, stale bread, or fruit in mesh bags. This will attract wildlife and be a cozy, safe place for critters to remain for the winter.

2. Remove all the branches and cut up the trunk of the tree to use for edging around your garden, or even little resting stops for critters in your garden. You can keep the natural look, or sand them down followed by paint or stain.

3. You can grind the trunk and use for mulch in your beds

4. The trunk can also be used for outdoor firewood. (Don't use in your fireplace inside the home.)

5. You local woodworker may also enjoy the wood from your tree to make handcrafted wood items.

6.  The branches from the tree can be cut off and placed around perennial beds to keep the perennials safe from upcoming, hard freezes that January and February always bring us!  

7. You can also burn the branches and uses the ashes in the flower bed considering they give off lots of nutrients and minerals that can help enrich your soil.

8. Fish Habitat.  You can place them in your ponds, or near your dock to make excellent beds for fish.  I would suggest if you are placing the tree in swift water to keep it toward the bank, or tie it off when you throw it in to keep it from washing away and potentially causing problems in someone else's part of the water.
Next week, we'll delve into some common winter problems that your  garden may experience.

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