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Nature & You: Kill a tree for Earth Day celebration

Eastern red cedar trees have become invasive on pastureland. Columnist Neil Garrison suggests taking an ax to these trees for Earth Day. [PHOTO PROVIDED BY OKLAHOMA FORESTRY SERVICES]

Eastern red cedar trees have become invasive on pastureland. Columnist Neil Garrison suggests taking an ax to these trees for Earth Day. [PHOTO PROVIDED BY OKLAHOMA FORESTRY SERVICES]

Kill a tree for Earth Day ... but not just any tree

Get ready! Set! Go!

You've got ample time to prepare for the very special celebration that will take place Sunday. April 22 is Earth Day. No doubt you can come up with no end of eco-friendly activities for that special day, but if you're at a loss for ideas, please permit me to suggest one: Kill a tree!

Need I explain?

Your marching orders are for you to take saw, ax or hatchet and whomp up on an eastern red cedar. It's a noxious, weedy thing that has long outlived its welcome.

Remove all of the branches and bury them in a shallow pit. (I would have said "shallow grave," but I want to skirt the possibility that this article will devolve into a Halloween holiday treatise.) The soil microbes will gobble up these plant parts and convert them into valuable compost.

Save the tree trunk. Coat all of the saw cuts with a thick coat of paint. When the paint has completely dried, store this tree trunk away in a corner of your home's garage.

About this time next year, you should be able to retrieve the completely cured tree trunk and fashion something useful out of it. Using a hatchet, you can rough out the shape of a functional hiking stick. Take care to orient the object so that the left side is the red-colored heartwood and the other side is the white-colored wood. A cattywampus hiking stick such as this will be the envy of all your family and friends.

Here's hoping you have a happy Earth Day.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›

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