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Connecticut Garden Journal: Recycle your live holiday trees and wreaths

New England Gardening Holiday Edition 2020
Julianne Varacchi
Connecticut Public
Once the holidays are over, consider leaving your live trees, wreaths and boughs in your yard for wildlife to enjoy. This wreath uses found natural materials by Charlie Nardozzi during the filming of New England Gardening Holiday Edition at Van Wilgen’s Garden Center in North Branford, CT in 2020.

As the holidays wind down you may be wondering what to do with your live holiday tree, wreath and boughs. Certainly leaving them in your yard for wildlife to enjoy is an option. You can even add some peanut butter and birdseed to make it more attractive. Another good use is to cut boughs and cover tender perennials, such as lavender, in your garden. The boughs collect snow which insulates the plants. If you have a chipper, chop up the tree and use the mulch in your yard.

In fact, many municipalities in Connecticut collect live holiday trees in early January and chip them up for city landscaping projects. Check with your town about the dates and details. You do have to make sure all ornaments, lights, tinsel and other materials are taken off the tree.

Animals, besides the birds, can really enjoy the trees as well. Many farms in Connecticut welcome donations of live trees. Goats, alpacas and even pigs like to mulch on the needles and branches. Check with the farm first before hauling your tree to their location.

Live Christmas trees can even be good for fish. Break a hole in the ice of your pond and drop the tree into the water. It will provide shelter and protection for the fish all winter.

If you live along the shore, holiday trees can be placed on the sand dunes and eventually get buried in the dunes. This helps hold the dunes in place during storms and provides habitat for small creatures. Of course, only do this on land you own and with guidance from local officials.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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