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Connecticut Garden Journal: Using the Holiday Tree

Dec 29, 2016

Well, the leftovers still fill the refrigerator, there's still reams of wrapping paper to recycle, and there's the Christmas tree. If you purchased one of the more than 20 million live Christmas trees sold this year, you're probably wondering what to do with it now. 

While some people just toss it into the woods, or bring it to recycling for chipping, there are other creative things you can do with your tree.

Christmas tree branches make great insulating covers for perennial flowers and small shrubs. Cut them off the trunk and lay them over these plants. They collect snow, which is an excellent insulator.

In some coastal Connecticut towns, live Christmas trees are used to help rebuild dunes. Trees are laid end to end against prevailing winds on the dune line. They trap sand and eventually get buried.

Not only do they hold the dunes in place, they provide habitat for small animals.

If you live near the woods, you can also leave your tree for squirrels, rabbits, and other small creatures to use as shelter in winter.

For the birds, spread peanut butter on the branches or pine cones and cover the peanut butter with bird seed. Leave the tree on the deck or patio as a natural feeder and watch as our feathered friends feed.

Even fish like Christmas trees. If you have a pond, crack a hole in the ice and sink the tree in the water to provide food and habitat for fish.

If you have other creative ways to use your old tree, send me an email. I'd love to hear them.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about air plants. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.