The Veg Plot

Get more use from your Christmas tree

Uses for a Christmas tree

Christmas trees must dread the festive season. First they get hauled away from their forest chums before being trussed up in cheap bling and battered with vacuum cleaners, children and pets. And then, when Christmas day is over, a 12 day countdown begins to their ultimate fate – a trip to the nearest recycling centre, or worse.

But there is a better way. You can at least allow your tree to leave behind a legacy far greater than being the twinkling background feature to a Christmas selfie. Follow these tips and make the old wood proud…

If you have a rooted tree then it’s worth sticking it in the garden or a pot outside to give it the chance of resuming its growth (giving you a fresh harvest of spruce needles the following spring). Even if it doesn’t survive (or doesn’t have roots in the first place) then leave it outside throughout winter as birds will be grateful for the food and shelter it provides. You might even attract a new species to the garden – we gained the company of a goldcrest a few years ago from a discared spruce.

Make a mulch
A carpet of needles isn’t the ideal house accessory, but it could be just what your garden is after. Scoop them up, scatter around your plants and let them seep their nutrient rich goodness into the soil and roots. And if you have access to a wood chipper then chuck the whole tree in and use that as a mulch as well.

Make a bee and bug home
Litter some of the branches around your garden and there’s every chance small creatures will take up residence. Or, if you’ve got the appropriate tools, you could saw chunks out of the trunk, drill with different sized holes and leave out for bees and other bugs to move in.

Spruce and pine trees are notoriously flammable, due to their high creosote content. Although it’s not advisable you send these flames up your chimney, they do make a great addition to a bonfire or fire pit to help burn off the garden’s winter waste.

Got any more recycling tips? Let us know in the comments box below

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