It’s been said that a true survivalist can make something useful out of anything. Let’s put it to the test and see what we can come up with as practical uses for our crusty, dried-out Christmas trees.

1. Tinder
One of my favorite natural tinder materials in wet weather are the dry needles of evergreen trees. These have enough flammable pitch to burn even when they are damp. Once your Christmas tree needles are dry enough to fall off, they should be dry enough to use for tinder.

2. Kindling
The dried branches of your old tannenbaum make a great kindling material. Leave the dried needles on them for even more explosive flammability. Use them “as is,” or carve them into feather sticks to light your camp fire, wood stove, or fire place.

3. Fish structure
Tie a weight to the bottom of your piney pal and sink it in your favorite fishing hole. Many sport fish species will hang out around sunken structures like these.

4. Camouflage
The broken branches can be used to camouflage hunting blinds and anything else that needs to blend into the landscape. Even when dead and brown, the boughs will offer cover and natural looking shapes and pattern.

5. Water filter
One of the strangest water filters currently being researched is made of wood. Pine and similar evergreens are the most common test species. Blocks of these woods are porous enough to let water drip through, but dense enough to filter out many of the larger pathogens. Most bacteria are 1 to 10 microns in length, and the gaps in the woody tissue are small enough to catch them. Cut a 1 ½-inch-long by ¾-inch-wide plug from your tree, insert it into a vinyl tube and clamp it into place. Hook this hose to a water container and allow the water to drip. If tightly clamped, the water should flow only through the woody tissue, not around the plug. This makeshift filter has been documented to screen out E. coli and larger microorganisms.

What will you make from your leftover Christmas tree? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Photo by Olivia Krebs.