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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Get rid of your old Christmas tree where it'll do the most good

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
This time of year many of us have “used” Christmas trees to get rid of, but where and how?  After de-tinseling it (along with removing other adornments) just prop it up vertically in the center of your backyard brushpile. (Don’t have a brushpile? – you haven’t been reading this blog regularly). You could also just lean it up against a fence or something. Your tree will serve the birds for the rest of the winter as shelter from predators and bad weather. Even though the tree is dead it’s several degrees warmer inside, and harsh winds are minimized when birds perch on inner branches.
When spring arrives (and the tree is looking disheveled) just push it over and let it become part of the brushpile, decomposing naturally. At that point it will still be mostly green. Birds will still use it as a nesting site, a source of nest-building material and a place to escape from predators.

Where do birds “roost” in bad weather?   Bad weather, (whether rain, cold or wind) finds birds seeking shelter – a place to roost. Almost all birds roost at night too. Ground-nesting birds such as Meadowlarks roost temporarily in tall vegetation or low shrubs. Shrub-nesting species such as Mockingbirds and Cardinals, roost in dense evergreen shrubs. Cavity-nesters like Bluebirds, Titmice and Chickadees, may roost in an old nest or unused birdhouse. Almost all birds like to roost in a brushpile you’ve built up.

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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