If you were lucky enough to have a real tree this Christmas, what can you do with it now the festive season is over?
If you bought a tree that has been grown in a container or potted with its roots intact, you can plant it in your garden after the festivities are over.
Alternatively, transfer it into a bigger pot so the roots have room to grow, and use it again next year. A word of advice though – don’t put it straight outside into an exposed environment.
It’s better to let it acclimatise in a garage or shed. If you do repot your tree, ideally it should be done in early spring, but it doesn’t matter too much if that’s not possible.
Remember to feed it every week and give it plenty of water so it doesn’t dry out.
Pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, making them an excellent source of mulch.
Mulch is fantastic for gardens because it helps protect herbaceous plants and shrubs from heavy rain, keeps weeds to a minimum and provides the perfect environment for beneficial garden creatures such as worms.
It’s ideal if you grow strawberries or lettuces because it keeps them off the ground. All you have to do is cut the branches of your Christmas tree off as small as you can and lay the pieces over the soil.
Create a bird sanctuary
Another great idea is to place your tree in its stand outdoors and use it as a bird feeder. Make sure you’ve removed all the decorations first though!
Fill bird feeders and hang then from the boughs, or hang pine cones coated with lard or peanut butter and dipped in bird seed. Fresh fruit, strings of dried fruit or strung popcorn will also attract the birds, which can sit on the branches for shelter.
You can cut the trunk of your tree into small rounds and use them in an upright position to edge paths and flower beds. You should find that they’ll slowly nourish the soil and improve the condition of your plants.
You might decide that you have no use for your Christmas tree in your garden. In which case, you can still recycle it by chopping it up and putting it in your garden waste bin or taking it to a local recycling facility.
If you’re transporting the tree in your car, tie it up and cover it with a sheet or garden sacks to avoid needles shedding all over the place. Unwanted trees will usually be chipped and shredded by your local council and used for compost.
If you want to keep the refreshing smell of your Christmas tree in your home long after the baubles have been packed away, you can make potpourri from pine needles to put in your bathroom or lounge.
Collect the dried needles from the branches, and mix them with ingredients like dried flowers, foliage, pine cones, dried seed pods and empty nut shells.
Cinnamon sticks, nutmeg or essential oils can then be used to add fragrance.
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