For many northern Californians, part of the Christmas season includes cutting or buying a real Christmas tree. The scent of pine and the fun of spending time as a family looking for that perfect tree are just a couple of reasons families and individuals living in the Sierra Foothills, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sacramento Valley have a real tree in their home at Christmas time. But what do you do with the pine tree once the gifts have been opened, the visitors have gone home, and a new year is just a day or so away?
One can follow the advice of Green Living Examiner Lindy Lutnesky and turn the tree into mulch or a chipped wood pathway. Or you can contact your local Boy Scout Troop or Waste Management Company and ask if they accept them for recycling. Or you can use that no -longer-useful Christmas tree to create new and useful items.
After you cut the branches off and they are mulched, use the tree trunk to create your own Cat Scratching Pole. Set the trunk in a bucket of rocks or sand and let the cats have a fun climbing and scratching toy in the back yard.
Leave the tree intact through the winter, make handmade bird treats using these suggestions from Gardening Examiner Robin Ripley, hang from the branches and place in the yard somewhere and then enjoy some winter bird watching.
If you have access to wooded property, – Always Ask the Property Owner First! – just take the tree to the forest and leave it there. It will be recycled back into the forest ecosystem on its own.
Use the trunk to create Christmas Ornaments* for next year. Make cuts along the trunk every few inches until you have several rounds of wood. Drill a hole near the edge for hanging with string or twine, decorate in any way you want, save for hanging on next year’s tree or next year’s ornament exchange.
However you dispose of your real Christmas tree once the season is over, make sure it’s done in a way that benefints the environment and other creatures that inhabit our planet.
*This Examiner will be offering a tutorial on how to make these ornaments in a future article.