Wednesday, March 9, 2011

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Every year my husband and I pick out a fresh Christmas tree to decorate for the holidays.  I know a case can be made about cutting down trees, transporting them to a lot, etc., but I can’t imagine Christmas without a tree, and I don’t want to buy a fake one.  Each year our tree starts out in our home, carefully decorated with dated ornaments for each of our children.  After Christmas our tree is carried outside, still in it's stand and placed in a corner of our yard where it morphs into a bird feeder, decorated with pinecone ornaments dipped in peanut butter and bird seed (see 02/11 post).   Now that our tree is dried and crumbly it’s ready for project #2. 

Today I’m using some of the pine needles and branches as mulch around my blueberry plants.  Since blueberries prefer soil that is on the acidic side, pine needle mulch fits the bill for this.  The pine needles also act as a bit of barrier to keep the slugs and snails away from the plants.   Small pieces of tree branches work best for mulching as they are easier to pile around your plants.  Using a pair of strong clippers, I prune small pieces from different places in the tree, leaving some branches intact for my next project. 

Watering the blueberries well before topping with mulch helps the soil stay moist.  Pile the pine clippings around the plants approximately 2 to 3 inches high and extending at least a foot around the plant. Be careful not to place clippings up against the plant as this can cause rotting and fungal diseases.

I like to give the plants another cool drink at this point.  The plants are watered, mulched and waiting to give you a bumper crop of berries.  Enjoy!
Join me next week as my Christmas tree transforms into a trellis.
Be well and happy gardening!
Follow up 05/13/2011
I thinned out the side branches and needles on the tree, shredding everything and using it as a mulch around the newly planted blueberries.

The Christmas tree will now be used as a trellis for the beans that are popping up in the front garden bed, and the blueberries are mulched, watered and ready to grow.

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