Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
By Jennifer Stimpson of This Old House
Don’t just toss the tannenbaum in the trash. Try some of these clever reuse ideas instead. When the holidays are over, take down the tinsel, but don’t bag the tree. Its needles, boughs, and trunk can do more than hold ornaments.
1. Mulch With Needles
Pine 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 Sanctuary
Place your tree in its stand outdoors. Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, or drape the tree with a swag of pine cones coated with peanut butter.
Photo by Martin Arusalu on Unsplash
3. Insulate Perennials
Cut off boughs and lay them over perennial beds to protect them from snow and reduce frost heaving.
4. Edge Your Borders
Cut the trunk into 2-inch discs and set them into the soil to edge flower beds or walkways.
5. Shelter Fish
If 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. (Get permission from town officials if needed).
Photo by Maja R. on Unsplash
6. Set a Stage for Containers
Saw the trunk into different lengths and use the pieces as flowerpot risers for a dramatic group display.
7. 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. Check out this tutorial to create your own coasters!
Photo by Grace Ho on Unsplash
8. 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. Check out these recycling options: Henry County Recycling Center & The City of Alpharetta
9. Feed a Fire Pit
It’s fine to use a few of the quick-to-ignite branches to start an outdoor fire pit—but never in an indoor fireplace, where creosote build-up is a hazard.
Photo by Alan Labisch on Unsplash
10. Stake Your Plants
Strip small branches and use the remaining twigs to support indoor potted plants or stake leggy seedlings.