My parents have a small grove of pine trees at the edge of their yard. Each fall, we spend days picking up pine cones and clearing away pine needles (my father detests the fact that grass will not grow unless we rake up the pine needles). Until recent years, we would simply throw away the pinecones; however, my daughter began finding ways to use pinecones. This inspired the entire family to find practical uses for the pinecones.
Eight uses for pinecones
- Fire starters or kindling – Natural or dipped in old candle wax, pinecones make cheap fire starters. Dry them and use them as kindling.
- Birdfeeders – Coat pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed then hang from trees to give the birds a wonderful winter treat.
- Sell them – We found several local florists who love to buy our pinecones to use in their fall and winter floral arrangements.
- Potpourri – Use small pinecones in your potpourri – – they hold scented oils to keep potpourri smelling fragrant.
- Christmas decorations – Pinecones are wonderful (and cheap) additions to Christmas arrangements. Use them to hold candles or spray paint them gold and tie onto the tree with ribbons.
- Pot scrubbers – Pinecones work great as pot scrubbers when camping (especially when one spouse burns everything over an open fire).
- Planting material – Use pinecones under soil in the bottom of flowerpots – they provide drainage and eventually decompose into the soil. They are also lighter than rocks so it is easier to move flowerpots.
- Mulch – We use pinecones around our plants to keep dogs and cats from scratching and digging (the prickly cones deter them from using our plants as a bathroom too).
Winner of the pinecone recycling contest . . . our daughter
My daughter has created a small business for herself each year with our pinecones. She uses the pinecones to make Christmas decorations, birdfeeders and decorative kindling to sell at area craft fairs. Because her main manufacturing component is free, over 90% of her sales are pure profit. Therefore, the best use for our pinecones has been to teach our daughter to be creative and to manage her own business.
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