Putting Christmas trees to good use - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Putting Christmas trees to good use

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You spend weeks getting it just right. Stringing lights and carefully placing ornaments on each branch. But then Christmas is over.

So what can you do with your tree? Larry Clarfeld a naturalist at North Branch Nature Center says look no further than your backyard.

"We can get nature to do a lot of our heavy lifting and a lot of our dirty work. There's no need to be mulching a tree, or bringing it to the incinerator plant. You can just leave it out, let nature do its thing. It creates great habitat and saves you a lot of work in the long run," said Clarfeld.

Clarfeld says lean it up against a fence or prop it up on another branch to create a brush pile-- your own mini wildlife habitat.

"It's going to provide food, the leaves and sticks in the brush pile are going to be decomposing and creating soil and food for small insects. Those insects are going to create food for birds. It also creates a really important form of shelter for birds," said Clarfeld.

And if you have a birdfeeder in your backyard but never seem to attract any birds, Clarfled says the Christmas tree cocoon could be the answer.

"There's just not the right kind of shelter. That bird doesn't have the right kind of habitat to feel safe going to that bird feeder, so by creating a brush pile and tossing that Christmas tree near the bird feeder you are going to have an extra little space where those birds can hide out and feel safe as they go to visit your house," said Clarfeld.

Before you put your Christmas tree outside, remember to remove any tinsel or ribbon that's not biodegradable. That way, nature can do its work.

"Small birds like chickadees can squeeze their way right in the vegetation, other birds like juncos and sparrows and cardinals and mourning doves like to be right on the ground, so they'll actually walk on the ground right beneath that tree," said Clarfeld.

And before you know it...

"This is gonna be a hopping spot pretty soon for wildlife," said Clarfeld.

Christmas trees that keep on giving.

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