Friday, December 27, 2013

8 Uses for your Dead Christmas Tree

Now that the holidays are over, you may be tempted to just throw your tree out in the garbage, but there are plenty of great ways to reuse your Christmas tree to not only get more bang for your buck, but also to be more environmentally conscious.

1. Save your pine needles for mulchPine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, making them an excellent moisture- and mold-free mulch for ground-covering crops, such as strawberries, to rest on.

2. Create a bird sanctuaryPlace your tree in its stand outdoors. Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, or drape the tree with a swag of pinecones coated with peanut butter.

3. Insulate perennialsCut off boughs and lay them over perennial beds to protect them from snow and reduce frost heaving.

4. Edge your bordersCut the trunk into 2-inch discs and set them into the soil to edge flower beds or walkways.

5. Shelter fishIf you live near a lake or have a pond, and your tree's chemical-free, toss branches into the water to provide sheltering habitat for overwintering fish.

6. Make coasters and trivets. Cut thin slabs off the trunk, sand them smooth, and apply a thin coat of polyurethane to keep the sap off tables and glassware.

7. Chip it. Rent a chipper (get a few neighbors together to split the cost) and feed the tree through it. Next spring, spread the wood chips under shrubs; they'll suppress weeds and, as they decompose, add nutrients to the soil.

8. Stake your plantsStrip small branches and use the remaining twigs to support indoor potted plants or stake leggy seedlings.

Ideas brought to you by This Old House