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I hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful holiday week. As we wind down the holidays, and if you have a live cut Christmas tree this year, the question may arise, “What should I do with my Christmas tree?”
Instead of pitching that tree in the trash, consider recycling it.
One way to recycle the tree is to use it as a wildlife habitat and spread some holiday cheer to the birds.
Not only will the birds appreciate the gesture, but a tree in the yard covered with bird-food ornaments brightens the winter landscape.
To secure your old tree, bury the stump in the ground and tie the top to a tree or the house. Provide shelter from the elements and the north winds by placing the tree beside a south-facing wall.
Decorate the tree with a garland of peanuts (in the shell), raisins, popcorn or cranberries. Peanuts, especially, attract birds, including chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and woodpeckers.
Cranberries and raisins attract cedar waxwings, finches and robins. Popcorn will bring cardinals, finches and grosbeaks.
The next step, tinsel, is for nest-building. Pieces of ribbon, yarn and string would be greatly appreciated by our winged friends. Hang them on the tree as you would actual tinsel.
Adding ornaments to the tree is your opportunity to add variety and character. The old favorite – pine cones spread with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed – is an excellent choice.
You can also make cracker rings by stringing unsalted crackers with needle and thread through their little holes and tying them into rings.
Fruit slices can be wired to branches.
To make bread ornaments, use a cookie cutter to cut shapes from the bread and string with a piece of bright ribbon.
A dried sunflower head from the garden makes a great tree topper. You may also tie old doughnuts to the tree.
Suet is a great treat for birds like juncos, chickadees, finches and sparrows. It can be hung in the tree by placing it in mesh onion or potato bags. Mix it with other favorite bird foods, such as cracked corn, bird seed, peanut butter and dried fruit.
Warming the suet will make it more malleable. Instead of putting the suet in mesh bags, you could also fill empty orange rinds cut into halves and wire them to the tree.
Another option for using a cut Christmas tree is to turn the tree into chipped mulch, and use it in your landscaping.
Regardless of what you decide to do with your cut tree, dispose or recycle it in a responsible manner.
See you in the new year!
Dates of interest
Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Extension Office Closed for the Holidays.
Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.