Free garden stakes

Do you like free stuff? Of course, you do! All gardeners like free goodies to use in our gardens and this item won't cost you a cent.

As you do your yard clean-up this spring -- particularly the pruning of trees -- keep in mind that it's easy to turn many of those prunings into free garden stakes.

I just finished pruning our 'Paul's Scarlet' Hawthorn tree. It drives me nuts because it sends up a ton of vertical branches during the growing season. I don't know if they technically qualify as "water sprouts" but I'm thinking this problem is a trait of hawthorns, among other types of trees. The problem when you're pruning is that those branches attach to the older branches in a way that doesn't allow you to cut them off so they stop resprouting them again the next year.

And so, I seem to be trimming off the same darned branches year after year, and haven't figured out how to make them stop! Fortunately, it's possible to "turn lemons into lemonade" with this situation: trim them into nice, sturdy stakes. I mean, why not?!

The top photo shows half of the branches I trimmed from the tree. I discard branches with nasty thorns (no point in torturing this gardener, right?) but the really straight, strong branches get a bit of a trimming and voila! instant garden stakes. That's what you're looking at in the photo to the right.

This is a simple little tip but we gardeners should be thrifty and re-purpose things that we pull out of the garden. Hope you are enjoying the fact that it is now spring!