October 19, 2017

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10 Things to do with your used Christmas Tree

xmas treeOnce again Christmas has come and gone and the one thing left you can’t return sadly is the tree. Rather than just toss it out to the curb here are 10 environmentally friendly things you can  turn that  unwanted Christmas Tree into.

Stand your tree up outdoors to use as cover or a resting spot for birds. It should go feedercoverwithout mentioning to take any tinsel that you may have used off the tree. If you have bird feeders place the tree several feet away from the feeder.

You want to place it far enough away that the squirrels wont be able to jump from the tree to your feeder, unless of course you don’t mind feeding the squirrels. It doesn’t hurt to hang a little suet from the branches as well.

 

feederperch

Attach some branches to an existing feeder for photo opps. That’s a little trick I learned a few years back. You can use a wire staple to attach the branch to your feeder. If you project the branch upwards over the feeder it works best. This way you can get a great natural looking picture of birds without the feeder in the picture. No one will ever know your shooting pics right from your bird feeder.

Use the needles to make potpourri. This works especially well if you had a potpourriBalsam for your tree. You don’t need anything special, some old socks or nylon stockings work great. Strip or shake as many needles off the tree as you would like and simply place them in your sock. If the scent starts to subside just knead the sock or stocking with your hands and fingers to crush the needles and release more new scent.

 

Make your own fire starters. If you do any kind of camping or have a fireplace in your home you can’t go wrong making your own fire starters. All you need are some empty egg crates and old candles, crayons or wax that you can melt down. While your melting your wax down fill each space in the empty egg eggcratecarton up with needles from your tree. You can break up small twigs as well but they have to be very small.  Once your wax is melted carefully pour it into each space in your egg carton and let it harden.firestarters Once hardened simply pull the egg carton apart and you have 12 individual fire starters. You can leave the cardboard from the carton on or off, they certainly light easier if you leave the cardboard on, just trim the excess off the tops to make them more compact for storage.

 

Create a shelter for small animals. If you have any kind of yard at all just drag the tree over to the corner somewhere and leave it for birds and other small animals to nest or hide in. You can break off the branches and lay them against the trunk in a teepee pattern to create a space for rabbits or other small animals to hide.suettrunk

 

Use the trunk to make a suet feeder. You can get as creative as you want to with this one. You can make hanging feeders or simply cut the trunk into 2 or 3 foot lengths and stand them on the ground. Drill anywhere from 1/2 to 1 inch holes into the trunk with a spade bit and fill the hole suet or peanut butter. The birds will love you for it!

 

bughouseMake a bug house with the branches. Cut enough branches off the tree to make  bundles 6 to 8 inches in diameter and 12 to 16 inches long. Strip all the smaller twigs off the branches so they will fit tighter together. Wrap the twigs up tight with string and hang them in a tree or place them in some bushes or in your garden. You could also take old birch bark (from downed trees of course) and wrap that around your bundle of sticks and then wrap string around that to hang up. You may have moths, butterflies, bees or lady bugs move in which are all beneficial to your garden plants and flowers..

Make your own mulch. This one works better if you can collect several trees from your neighbors. If you don’t have a chipper rent one from your local hardware or rental store. Use the wood chips to dress up your yard or garden.

Enjoy a Spring or Fall fire.  Probably the least environmentally friendly thing to do with your used Christmas Tree but it keeps that warm Christmas feeling alive for a little extra while. Cut the trunk up into small logs, break the branches into kindling and let the wood dry. Kick back with someone you love on a cool Spring night, pour a glass of wine  and listen to the Peepers while you sit around the fire.

groundblindBuild a ground blind for photography.  This is one of my favorites since I enjoy photography and it’s simple. Since where I live it’s pretty wooded I have several ground blinds in various places. The best blinds are the ones where I used two trees from consecutive years. I have a collapsible stool I carry with me that fits nicely in my blinds. If your like taking wildlife pics then a natural blind is definitely the way to go.

You probably have a few ideas now of things to do with your used  Christmas Tree at least we hope so.  They grace our home and holidays with their beauty, hopefully they can serve a  another purpose in Nature for the coming seasons.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!