DIY Projects to Re-purpose Your Christmas Tree

pine_needlesThe problem with the end of the holidays is that, once you strip the lights and tinsel from your Christmas tree, it suddenly becomes a big, dead flammable bush dropping dry, sharp needles that will get stuck into your bare feet. Now, if you paid a lot for your tree, you might want to find ways to get your money’s worth – instead of just tossing it to the curb. Sure, you could make a few pine-scented sachets of potpourri, but what can you do with the rest of a 6- or 7-foot tall tree?

Lots of other people have had the same problem. So here’s a list of practical DIY projects to help you get the most out of your Christmas tree.

Organic Gardening covers the basic garden disposal options, as shredding and composting your tree for pine mulch is a great way to ensure happy spring flowers and shrubs. Thankfully, there are a few other creative options as well:

Flowering Shrub Nutrients: Trim off branches and lay these around the base of your acidic-soil loving shrubs (azaleas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas).

Winter Bird Shelter/Feeder: Trim off some of the lower branches and stand it in one of the holes of a cement block (use extra blocks to help brace it in place). You can hang suet blocks, small feeders, and other avian snacks in its branches to keep your feathered friends fed and shed during the long, cold winter.

Fishing pond habitat: If you have a pond (or know of one) stocked for fishing, then consider sinking your tree into the pond to provide a sheltering habitat for very young and very small fish that often get eaten by the older fish. Consider tree placement carefully since you might also be able to use it help stabilize the bank.

Erosion control: If you have a ditch or gulley that is getting deeper from run off, stake down the tree in the ditch. Its branches will catch and trap soil. Another way to use it is to help prevent erosion along a fence line or corner of your garden. Follow these instructions:

  • Cut off the branches.
  • Cut the trunk into 1 or 2 foot long stakes and pound these into the ground close together along the fence line.
  • Weave the branches among the stakes.
  • Line the up-stream side with landscaping fabric.
  • Next, fill with 3″ to 4″ sized pieces of rock (sometimes called “rip rap” to catch and drap silt.
  • Seed with grass in late summer.

The tree remains will last several years (depending on soil conditions) and then safely rot away, leaving the rock-soil-root matrix firmly intact.

What are some other ideas you have for DIY projects that help you reuse your Christmas tree in fun and creative ways?

Image: pine_needles.jpg By sioda from Morguefile.com