Garden Tips - January 2017 - Deborah Carney

No Landfill for my Christmas Tree this year

Community dumps and land-fills are filling up.  Pretty soon, even my well managed New Hampshire Unincorporated Township with enough space set aside  25 years ago to receive seasonal yard waste, finds itself out growing that designated open space  now that it’s fully settled.

After the “snow birds” head south, the remaining 30-or so winter residents here will most likely deposit their Christmas wreaths and trees into the landfill to be buried or burned depending on the weather.  After allowing for the fact that some people have artificial Christmas trees, we are still talking about maybe 15-20 bushy trees piled up and taking precious space in an already overcrowded dump site.

Not me.  Not this year.  I’m on a crusade.   A  RECYCLING Crusade! 

My mission, my cause … find as many creative ways to Re-use or Re-cycle my Christmas wreaths and tree and to encourage my neighbors and friends to do the same.   It is a small step, but a step none the less, toward limiting what we throw away, and what we can re-use.  The planet is only so big, and there is only so much land.   Let’s remind ourselves that THEY are not making any more of the latter!

Try these ideas:

  1. For your low growing tender perennials such as hydrangeas and roses, cut some of the long, strong branches from the Christmas tree and stick them vertically in the ground or in the snow around the plants like a “tee pee”.   This will cut down the winter wind forces as well as block the sun.  Both can cause dehydration and leaf burn.
  2. For perennial ground covers like pachysandra, junipers and ivy cover them with cut fir branches for a blanket type of protection, again from the ice, and wind which will lead to dehydration.
  3. Use the Christmas tree as a bird-feeder. Remove any tinsel or artificial decorations that might harm the birds. Hang your feeders nearby or directly from the tree limbs, or hang some suet cakes, or strands of pop- corn and cranberries or raisins in the tree. It will give the birds shelter and a cozy place to hide.
  4. My large, semi-rotted out Halloween pumpkin makes a good tree stand for my Christmas tree feeder. The squirrels eat the pumpkin seeds at the base of the tree, there by possibly limiting (but maybe not) how much they steal from the feeder above.
  5. Cut the tree into small pieces (if you are looking to kill some time), and add them to your compost pile. The tree and needles will compost into great soil very nicely over time and small pieces will degrade quicker than a whole tree.
  6. Use the needles to make fragrant Balsam socks. Cut some of the fir limbs, place them in a black garbage bag and seal tightly. Place the bag outside in a sunny area. In a few weeks the needles will have fallen off the branches and you can collect them in the bottom of the bag. Stuff an old sock or nylon, tie off or sew the end closed and your closet or drawers will smell fragrant and clean as all outdoors.
  7. Many towns will accept Christmas trees to add to their New Years bond fire as North Conway does.  This is a great way to save landfill space, and enjoy a fun night of warmth and good cheer.  (By the way, a dry Christmas tree can be very flammable and if you try to burn it yourself be aware that it could almost just explode with all the pine sap in the needles.


May you be safe,
May you be happy, 
May you be healthy,
May you be at peace 

May you help save our planet… Deb (January 2017 Horticultural Newsletter)