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Garden Obstacles: Repurpose Your Christmas Tree

Don’t throw the Christmas tree to the curb! Repurpose it for the critters. Birds and other critters need shelter and some supplemental food to get them through the winter. If you didn’t have a fresh tree, I’m sure one of your neighbors did. Now is the time to scoop it up from the curbside.

This a great project for kids and adults. My tree has cranberry (on sale now in supermarkets) and popcorn (preferably air popped) garland, stale bread, bruised fruit (ask your grocer if they have any to give you free or discounted), and my favorite, birdseed pinecones with peanut butter (the cheap stuff is fine) ornaments.

The garland is made by threading popcorn and cranberries onto heavy gauge string, like bakery string, with a large-eyed needle. You can make one long strand or make a few smaller strands, it’s up to you. I prefer to wrap my tree with one long garland.

The bread can be tucked into the branches or as I did by poking them with the branches. The fruit is cored so you can thread them with twine so it is easy to hang them off the tree.

Now for my favorite part...the pinecone birdseed ornaments! I use our native eastern white pine cones because they lend themselves so well to this. Tie some twine around the pinecone to make a loop for hanging (this is easiest to do before the peanut butter is added). Take a glob of peanut butter and mush it into the crevices of the pinecones until it’s covered, then roll it in birdseed.

Be aware, this is a very messy project! Lay down some paper bags to catch the mess, especially when doing the pinecone ornaments. I make the ornaments in my shed. Feel free to also just throw some seed, popcorn, and peanuts still in the shell into the tree and smear some of the branches with the peanut butter.

Voila! A delicious treat for birds, squirrels, and other hungry critters.

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