Staking plants Vegetables

Turn Your Christmas Tree into A Bean Tree

Scarlet runner beans turned into a bean tree. Photo:

If you store your cut Christmas tree outdoors over the winter until its needles all drop off, you can easily turn it into a large branching plant stake: a bean tree. 

In late spring or early summer, stand it up in the vegetable garden, inserting the base of the trunk into ground, using a few tent pegs to hold down the lower branches for better support. Then simply sow seeds of climbing vegetables, like pole beans, runner beans, peas or squash in the ground all around the outer branches. 

Plant climbing vegetable seeds around the Christmas tree carcass. Ill.: &

As the seeds sprout, their twisting stems or tendrils will wrap around the tree branches and hoist themselves up, completely covering the bare tree with leaves. 

By midsummer, you can astound your friends with your bean tree. Or pea tree. Or squash tree.

The “tree” will eventually begin to rot and can then be composted, but should last 7 or 8 years. 

Sometimes gardening is sooo simple!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

8 comments on “Turn Your Christmas Tree into A Bean Tree

  1. Seven or eight year?! That is a tough Christmas tree!

  2. Love this!

  3. John Wilson

    I had never seen this, or even heard of it before now, but it is so GENIUS and simple! I purchased a Balsam Fir tree this year that was bigger than I wanted, or needed – it touched the eave of my house when stood upright. I cut a couple feet off it to get it inside, but still had to prune the leader another six inches so it didn’t hit the eight foot high ceiling. It should make a fine support for my peas and beans this season. Thanks, Larry!!

  4. What a great idea!

  5. That is so cool! I will try this. Not only with a christmas tree, but with a bush that didn’t make it from the winter. No bean poles needed. 🙂

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