I’m a huge fan of repurposing and recycling. Just ask my husband (no, I have not recycled him). So what should you do now with your Christmas tree that has brightened your home for weeks? Googling the internet will generate dozens of interesting, if not wacky, ideas. One head-scratching suggestion was to carve it into a didgeridoo – a primitive aboriginal wind instrument. (Photo from https://ahundredeightyonedays.wordpress.com).
Below are some practical, garden-themed suggestions:
1) Use cut boughs to cover perennial gardens, especially on the southern or western side of the home. The boughs act as a shade umbrella, helping to prevent soil from thawing during warm spells. The boughs will also capture snow, further insulating plants. Freezing and thawing soil can damage, even kill, plants when they are heaved out of the ground and roots become exposed to cold temperatures and wind. Perennials that are prone to heaving include coral bell (Heuchera), foamflower (Tiarella), foamy bells (Heucherella), Pigsqueak (Bergenia) and German Bearded Iris.
2) Chip the tree and put it in your compost pile or use the shredded wood as mulch around your woody plants.
3) Anchor the tree outside and create a bird feeder out of it. Hang peanut butter/seed packed pine cones and suet cages from the limbs. The boughs will also provide winter protection for birds (until all the needles drop).
4) Did you know goats love Christmas trees?! There is a dairy farm near me that accepts donated trees as vitamin-rich treats for their goats. Their only stipulation is that the tree is free of tinsel, ornaments, fake snow and other ‘debris’.