Wondering what to do with your Christmas tree?

Published 3:03 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Give it to the goats

Rather than throwing your Christmas tree in the landfill, an area livestock specialist and local gardeners have some creative suggestions to extend the tree’s usefulness. Noah Henson, livestock extension agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, said goats really like to eat the limbs.

“Throw it in the pasture,” he said. “The goats will eat the limbs off the tree and strip the bark to a bare trunk.”

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Henson added that if you don’t have your own goats, be sure to check with local goat farmers before offering your tree to their herd. It is also a good idea to be certain the tree is completely free of all tinsel, decorations or decoration hooks as these can easily harm the goats if swallowed.

Henson also suggested what many people already know, that the trees make great habitats for fish in local ponds and lakes. “You can tie a cinder block to the tree and sink it near a dock,” he said adding again the caution to remove all decorations and hooks.

Beth Rounds of the Tryon Garden Club said she likes to leave her tree in the stand and set it outside as cover for the birds. “The birds will use it to stay warm,” she said, adding that you can hang food on the tree as well.

While a lot of people grind up their trees for mulch, Master Gardener Gary Garside of Down to Earth Garden Center suggested letting their Christmas trees compost a while before using it in the garden. “It’s much too acidic to put directly in the garden,” he said.

Garside recommended leaving the intact tree in a compost pile for a year before using it in the garden. He did say, if it is mulched, it will dry out faster.

Henson said he had heard of people leaving the tree out under a shed so the needles will dry out, then using them for garden beds to control weeds. Another idea is to cut off the tree limbs and cut the trunk into two inch thick disks to use as garden or sidewalk borders.

“It makes a neat looking border and decomposes slowly,” Henson said.

Another idea is for several neighbors or a community to rent a chipper or stump grinder and grind up the trees for those in the area. Henson said the closest recycling he knew about was set up in the parking lot of field 6 at Jackson Park in Hendersonville. He said they may be set up until mid January. For more information about recycling in Hendersonville call the Henderson County Extension service at  828-697-4891.