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For a number of years my wife had longed for a rustic rose trellis in our yard. I investigated buying a rustic cedar trellis and just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Nevertheless, I kept the idea in mind and just after Christmas last year, when I was talking to a neighbor, I spied his discarded Christmas tree lying on the lawn. “Aha,” I thought, “if I could use his tree and round up a few more, I’d have enough wood to build that trellis for my wife. After scanning the neighborhood I was able to round up enough discarded trees to do the project I had in mind. So now all I had to do was build the trellis. Rounding up those trees was not as easy as it used to be mind you because so many today are using artificial trees.

My first step, after collecting the trees, was to draw a plan for my trellis because I realized it would be foolish to “just bui1d” it. Incidentally, in planning the trellis, I arranged to have each crosspiece shorter or longer than the next one, so their ends would not make a straight upward line. This added to the rustic effect I was looking for.

garden trellisMy plan completed, I gathered my tools: a hammer, saw and nails, and went to work. I trimmed the trees of all branches then I cut the two vertical members from the largest trunks. Both the upright pieces and the crosspieces were notched so that they could be fastened together with 2.5” galvanized nails. In constructing the trellis, I purposely designed it to have an amateurish, rustic look to fit our yard. The total cost of the trellis was under $1 for one pound of nails.

It was as simple as that to build the trellis and the result was both surprising and pleasing. If you decide to build such a trellis yourself, keep in mind the fact that it is always better if the project you’re doing is planned in advance, even though it may seem foolish actually to plan something you wish to look rustic and unplanned.

garden trellisLast spring we planted a climbing red rose to climb on our trellis. We could have also planted any one of a number of other kinds of colorful, flowering vine, or trailing shrubs. I wonder which neighbors I can get my trees from this year?

So instead of burning up Christmas trees when the holiday season is over, or filling your waste management site, why not make use of the wood to build a trellis like this one? You may even be able to think of some other outdoor uses for these Christmas trees, like a decorative fence or arbor or obelisk.

Whatever you do make sure the limbs you cut off go to you local compost site and if you don’t have one in your community compost them yourself. You could rent or borrow a chipper and run them through to chop them down to size, then compost them or use them in your yard as mulch for your garden.

This is a great Christmas holiday project that will be enjoyed for years.

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