EX­PERT TIPS… RE­CY­CLING CHRIST­MAS

Period Living - - Reclamation -

Mick Lavelle, gar­den­ing ex­pert and se­nior lec­turer in hor­ti­cul­ture at Writ­tle Univer­sity Col­lege, of­fers sea­sonal ad­vice

As the fes­tive hul­la­baloo comes to its in­eluctable end, for some, early Jan­uary is sim­ply a mat­ter of pack­ing away dec­o­ra­tions and com­mit­ting to a range of soonto-be-bro­ken res­o­lu­tions. If your Christ­mas dis­play in­volved liv­ing or nat­u­ral el­e­ments, though, it leaves the mat­ter of what to do with it all come the 6th of Jan­uary?

On the 12th day…

Top of this list is, al­most in­vari­ably, the Christ­mas tree. In the UK, around 8 mil­lion nat­u­ral Christ­mas trees are sold each year. While a few of these are pot­ted spec­i­mens, most are cut trees. The prob­lem has be­come so well es­tab­lished that many lo­cal au­thor­i­ties now ar­range drop-off points or spe­cial col­lec­tions of ‘real’ trees in early Jan­uary. While seem­ingly waste­ful, it does mean the trees are re­cy­cled into use­ful gar­den mulch.

If you in­vested in a pot-grown tree, how­ever, you may be able to re­use it next year. You will need to pot it on – into a larger pot – and then wa­ter and feed it through the com­ing year. If you planned to plant it in the gar­den, how­ever, con­sider that such trees grow very large, of­ten reach­ing around 15-20 me­tres in 20 years; some even­tu­ally achieve 40m.

Green Gift

Wreaths, gar­lands, ta­ble posies, poin­set­tias and other ‘liv­ing’ plant items and nat­u­ral dec­o­ra­tions must also be dealt with. Make it one of your New Year res­o­lu­tions to take a trip to the Jan­uary sales to buy a good qual­ity gar­den shred­der.

You can then cre­ate some read­ily com­postable ma­te­rial, which you can give as a ‘gift’ to the gar­den next win­ter in the form of nu­tri­tious, well-rot­ted com­post mulch.

Happy gar­den­ing year!

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