15 CREATIVE WAYS TO REPURPOSE FALLEN TREES
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
How can we recycle trees?
“Ancient trees are precious. There is little else on Earth that plays host to such a rich community of life within a single living organism.” - Sir David Attenborough
As we collectively strive to move to a more sustainable world, recycling has become more of a pre-requisite than a habit adhered to by a conscious few.
Be it plastics, textiles, clothes, paper, glass, the list of recyclable goods continues to grow as we become increasingly aware of and concerned with our planet’s plight.
Likewise, the practice of upcyclying by converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful continues to grow.
Wood is one such material that is increasingly finding new and creative ways to be utilised after the tree it has come from has fallen.
Trees are magnificent, grand beings that play a vital role in balancing our eco-system. They provide oxygen and limit carbon in the atmosphere. They reduce air pollution, provide food and shelter for wildlife, minimise erosion and maintain healthy soil, increase rainfall, and absorb sunlight as energy. They effectively absorb harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Trees often appear timeless, ageing back centuries. They carry a certain nobility in their very being, standing tall, watching all below and and around them – each one with a story to tell.
Inevitably, however, tress fall, be it naturally or out of choice.
In a country like Australia, there are, of course, a myriad of challenges faced by natural disasters where tress, inevitably, become innocent victims. The devastating floods experienced locally in Port Macquarie and surrounding areas earlier this year are a prime example where a significant number of trees were compromised.
Similarly, trees often need to be felled for safety reasons, or they become collateral damage when expanding a property or development.
That does not mean, however, the tree has to lose all purpose once it has fallen.
Give a tree a new life
It seems prudent, respectful even, to find ways to continue to utilise a tree even after its demise. Whether a tree on your property has been professionally removed or fallen naturally, there are an increasing number of innovative ways we can look to recycle and repurpose the tree instead of just sending it to the landfill. With a little ingenuity, designers are increasingly finding ways to repurpose fallen branches and trunks.
Here are just a few suggestions of how you can repurpose your fallen tree to curate a range of practical, unique and inspiring home and garden solutions.
Put your feet up
We all like to put our feet up when watching a movie or the latest sports occasion on TV – a repurposed cutting from a felled tree trunk can make for the perfect foot rest when relaxing, particularly when customised cushioning is added.
A bit on the side
Similarly, creating small side tables for multiple use throughout the house is a great way of repurposing the trunk of a tree. These tables can be perfect for a lamp at the bedside, to stand plants or similar decorations on in the lounge or hallway, or to store toiletries in the bathroom.
What time is it?
An especially novel use for discarded timber comes in the form of a customised clock. A cross-section cutting from a tree’s trunk can make the perfect time piece. Simply add the dials, paint on the numbers and hang on the wall – beautiful and unique!
Most shelves we have in our houses are made from wood but often carry a very uniform, even bland look. Repurposing old trees for shelving or bookcases can open up an entire new world of creative designs and funky options for your framed pictures, books, plants, etc to proudly sit upon.
Let there be light
Lighting is an often over looked component in setting the mood and general ambiance at home. Candles have become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of creating a relaxed, gentle vibe. One of the most popular and simple uses of upcycled timber is to create a range of candle holders to further enhance the mood. Candle-lit dinner for two, anyone?
Looking to jazz up the wardrobe? Why not create a tree branch hanger for clothes? Similarly you could create a hanger for keys and associated nick-nacks. Adding a lick of paint further enhances the look and integration into your home decor.
Another very straight forward way of utilising a repurposed tree is to create coasters for the home – they can be customised, lacquered, coloured with paint to suit your decor and provide a perfect solution to protect your furniture when setting down hot cups of tea or cold glasses of wine!
Similarly, why not craft larger styled trivets to protect your kitchen counter or dining table from hot pans and casserole dishes?
Cross sections of a tree trunk are perfect for creating chopping boards for the kitchen, something that is guaranteed to get prolonged use as we all strive to find the budding home cook within ourselves! Remember to apply a food-safe lacquer, however.
Piece of cake
While in the kitchen, how about crafting a beautiful cake stand from a tree trunk cutting? It can provide the perfect means to showcase your culinary triumphs to eagerly awaiting friends and family members!
All for show
An especially novel way to use your discarded timber is to create decorative ornaments. Simple, small cut offs can be sanded down, varnished and painted to provide an inspiring range of trinkets, baubles and knickknacks. This is something that is becoming increasingly popular around the festive period where home made decorations are continually taking the place of shop-bought options – it is a much cheaper method too and can be a turned into a fun exercise by enlisting help from the kids. Simply drill a hole, attach some thread and your shiny new decoration is ready to be hung on the family Christmas tree!
Take a seat
Taking a repurposed tree back into the outdoors has a kind of nice symmetry to it, almost as if it is returning to its natural environment. One of the most popular ways to recycle your fallen tree, particularly the stump, is to create garden furniture - be it a garden bench, outdoor table and/or a set of stools. Perfect for those lazy summer evenings around the barbie with a few beers! This can also be a fun way to involve the kids maybe by creating their own secret fairytale garden with chairs and a table! Take it one step further by creating a fairy house from any leftover tree stumps that your kids will love!
Why not further enhance your outdoor space by repurposing your timber into a holder for plants and flowers? Quick and easy to arrange, they can provide a great way to add colour and vibrancy to your garden.
Here's what Martin does, putting plants into hollow tree logs and now selling them.
An additional way to utilise your discarded trees in the outdoor environment is by creating a bird bath for our local feathered friends to enjoy. A simple off-cut from a tree trunk can be used in creative ways, incorporating a further cut or perhaps a solid plate or saucer to finish the piece. The regular chitter-chatter of the birds will confirm this choice as a popular addition to the garden.
Mulching is a method integral to retaining moisture in soil by keeping it cool. It also helps suppress weeds, prevents frost heaving in the winter months, and generally gives your garden bed a lot more of a favourable and attractive look. Organic mulches also help improve the soil's structure, drainage, and nutrient-holding capacity as they decompose. Discarded timber is perfect for this and Accomplished Tree Management are renowned for their mulch expertise and products.
Chop it up for firewood!
If all else fails and none of the suggestions above seem appropriate then you could always adopt the age old addage and chop your discarded timber up and use it for fire wood.
Whichever choice you make, there are clearly an extensive range of options for repurposing your tree after it has fallen to continue its story, and there can be a lot of fun to be had in doing it!
About Accomplished Tree Management: Tel 0411 443 535 Accomplished Tree Management is based in Port Macquarie and services the Mid North Coast. With over 16 years of experience, we employ safe work methods and are certified with Australian AS 4373-2007-Pruning of Amenity Trees standards. We're fully insured with $20 million Public Liability and $5 million Professional Indemnity Insurance. We provide the following tree services -
Tree management - tree removals, palm tree services, council permits
Tree and garden maintenance - hedging, pruning, deadwooding, stump grinding
Tree consultation - arboricultural reports, hazard assessment
"Creative ways to repurpose fallen trees"is written by Vermilion Pinstripes, a sales marketing and communications agency based in Port Macquarie helping businesses thrive with brand confidence.