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Five things to do with your live Christmas tree after the holidays

Deep green evergreen needles and boughs.
After you've taken off the ornaments and tinsel, choose an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of your holiday tree.

If you celebrated the holidays with a live Christmas tree in your home, you can recycle it in a number of ways!

If you celebrate holidays and decorate for them with a live tree, this year, here are five (plus one extra one that involves camelids) environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of it!

This year, if you're like the many folks who chose a live tree to decorate for the holidays, you have a few choices for disposing of it. Here are some ideas that can also help out in your garden and even provide food and shelter for some critters in your yard over the winter: 

Drag it - Simply drag and drop your tree into a wooded area on your property and it becomes a woodland habitat. This is great for birds on cold, snowy days and a space for other animals to hide from winter winds and predators.

Chip it - Turn it into mulch and spread it around your garden and plants over the winter.

Chop it - Cut off tree boughs and place them over your garden, perennials and plants for winter protection.

Cut it - Chop off the limbs, then cut the trunk into discs. You can use those to edge your garden or walkway.

Float it - Place the tree into a pond or stream and it creates a habitat for fish and pond life.

And here is a bonus idea for what you can do with your live tree after you're done with it: Doug in Vershire wrote in to suggest that you feed it to your goats and alpacas! 

Q: You did a series on voles and how to deal with the issue. We have tried a trap, castor pellets and liquid, dish detergent and water since the fall, yet nothing has worked. To this day, our lawn has been destroyed by these rodents. We do have dogs and therefore try to avoid poisonous chemicals. Any other suggestions? — Pam, in Bethlehem, NH

If you have any wood piles or rock piles where voles and chipmunks might be hiding, move and clear those away. Then in spring, try the liquid version of castor oil again. These critters are cyclical animals and you might find there aren’t as many after winter is over.

Q: I brought a potted geranium back inside for the winter, cut it back, and it was doing so well. Now most of the leaves are almost entirely eaten! I see absolutely nothing on the plant or in the soil. I have looked with magnifying glass at every stem and leaf and an inch down in the soil. Only one large leaf left! — Suzanne, in Putney

You can actually go ahead and cut back the geranium all the way now (including that last leaf!) and it will be just fine over the winter. Try putting fresh soil in and repotting the plant. Then, come February and March, the days will be getting longer and the leaves will begin to grow back, hopefully aphid-free.

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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