By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Nov 21, 2009 at 1:32 PM

I live in a 110-year-old house and am mildly obsessed with ways in which we can improve upon the space while maintaining it's turn-of the-century period charm. Needless to say, a subscription to "This Old House" magazine last Christmas my from in-laws wasperfect.

While scouring the pages of the December '09 issue I came across a cool little piece on 10 ways to reuse and / or recycle your Christmas tree once the season ends. Check it out.

1. Mulch with the needles -- They dry quickly and decompose slowly, which make them great moisture- and mold-free mulch.

2. Create a bird sanctuary -- Place the tree in a stand outside and hang bird feeders from the boughs.

3. Insulate perennials -- Cut off boughs and lay them over perennial beds to protect them from winter.

4. Edge your borders -- Cut the trunk into 2-in. discs and use them to edge flower beds or walkways.

5. Shelter fish -- Permission pending, if you live near a pond or lake, toss (chemical-free only) branches into the water to provide sheltering habitat to fish.

6. Set a stage for containers -- Saw the trunk into different lengths and use pieces as flowerpot holders.

7. Make coasters and trivets -- Cut thin slabs off the trunk, sand smooth and coat in polyurethane.

8. Chip it -- Rent a chipper and next spring, spread the chips under the shrubs to suppress weeds and add nutrients.

9. Feed a fire pit -- But keep it outdoors, not in your indoor fireplace.

10. Stake your plants -- Strip small branches and use the remaining twigs to support indoor potted plants.


Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”