Most communities offer Christmas tree recycling, but gardeners can make good use of their trees at home. Some suggestions are:
Protect your garden
Strip off the branches and lay them over perennial beds and small shrubs for protection from wind and sun. As a mulch, they will collect and hold the snow cover while preventing compaction. Come spring, they can be trimmed and used as perennial supports.
Give birds a seat
Stand the tree near your feeder to offer birds a welcome perch.
Shade tender trees
Stand the tree on the south side of small trees, such as Japanese maples, to shade them. The heat from the strong southern sun following frigid nighttime temperatures can crack the bark.
Create a new compost pile
Use small branches as the base of a new compost pile. Stack them 15 centimetres deep, then continue to add kitchen scraps, old leaves, etc.
Make plant tags
If you’re handy with a saw, cut the trunk into discs about 1.5 centimetres thick. To prevent cracking, treat them with Pentacryl, a wood stabilizer, and let them dry completely. Then sand them smooth with a sheet of sandpaper. They make dandy plant tags—write the name in indelible marker or use a wood-burning pen. Apply a coat of polyurethane and drill a small hole near the edge for a wire or string to fasten the tag to the plant or a stake.
image by istock/Orchidpoet
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