Gardening Blog

Gardening Blog: Nine Lives of Christmas Trees

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After giving weeks of enjoyment indoors, most Christmas trees are ready to get outdoors in nature again. The long and varied life of holiday evergreens can work for you in the garden and beyond.

Evergreen Arrangements

Let the Christmas tree continue to greet you at the windows when you arrive home or at church on Sunday.

Cut the conifer boughs to size and arrange them in outdoor winter window boxes along with other ornamental plant material like berried holly and pyracantha branches, pine cones, and colorful twigs.

Church congregations can contribute Christmas tree evergreen bough bouquets as a substitute for flower arrangements on the church altar during Epiphany and beyond.

Bough Blankets

Christmas tree boughs are a feather light and airy insulation for perennials. Gently lay boughs atop beds to protect plants from harsh wind, unseasonal dips in temperature and frost heave.

Woven evergreen bough blankets are also used as grave covers in lieu of flowers during winter.

Log Bird Feeders

Cut the branches from the tree trunk leaving short perches. Saw the trunk into twelve inch lengths. Using a drill with a 1” bit, drill ˝” deep holes around the log’s surface. Fill holes with homemade suet or peanut butter mixed with wild bird seed. Screw a hook on top of the log to hang it.

Mushroom Log Garden

The trunk of your Christmas tree could become a specialized growing system for some species of fungi. Although most edible mushrooms grow best on hardwood logs, there are a few which take to conifer logs including lion’s mane, cauliflower, chicken of the woods, and Phoenix oyster mushrooms.

Seek the advice of well-informed mushroom growers for this unique project.

Fish Attractor Site

Individuals living on a farm pond or private lake can contribute their tree to the underwater world. A submerged tree is just the natural structure needed to harbor aquatic insects and to give fish a place to hide, spawn, feed and “go to school.”

Check with your state Department of Natural Resources for how to contribute your Christmas tree at fish attractor sites on public freshwater lakes. The public should not dump trees into lakes but rather donate trees at designated drop-off sites across their state.

Brush Pile

A single Christmas tree can initiate a backyard wildlife habitat. Wild species need places to escape from wind, ruthless weather, and predators and to rest in secluded surroundings. A Christmas tree propped against a fence, potting shed or compost bin or placed on its side in the corner of the yard will shelter birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

Let wild animals become the decorations on the outdoor tree.

Avian Canteen

Leave the tree in its stand and place it on level footing somewhere in the garden. Trim a tree for the birds. Attach edible garlands of apple and orange slices, cheese balls, peanuts in the shell, cranberries, and popcorn. Hang pine cone and gum ball ornaments coated with suet, nut butters and bird seed.

In no time the tree will be flocked with winter birds and their merry caroling.

Coastal Christmas Tree Fence

In coastal areas residents collaborate to amass large quantities of Christmas trees for dune restoration. The trees are anchored in the sand to collect the shifting sand and form the foundation for new dunes.

Yule Mulch

Contribute in the communal conversion of Yule trees into mulch through local Grinding of the Greens programs. Spreading the fragrant mulch around your yard continues the tree’s cycle of life in your garden.

For gardeners the holiday Christmas tree is just the beginning of a yearlong evergreen relationship.
Tags: christmas
Gardening and Plants