Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekend Gardening: Tea Tree

     Some years ago we acquired a tea tree start from our local extension office and had no idea what to do with it. Today the shrub stands over eight feet tall and is a vital part of our herbal garden. Soft wispy branches hold feathery leaf sprigs that, when touched, yield the familiar fragrance of tea tree oil. Throughout the year we harvest hefty snips for various practical uses around the home.

How We Use It

   1. Drying...sprigs of tea tree are bunched and hung to dry in open air out of direct light. Be aware, it does lighten a bit in color..and shed when jostled. Once dry, I store them in airtight jars.
   2. Vinegar...sprigs are snipped and placed in a jar, covered with vinegar, and sealed with a tight fitting lid. Left a few weeks, the strained vinegar is excellent for cleaning and healing purposes. To make a stronger solution..simply repeat the process several times with the same vinegar.
   3. Sachet...fresh or dry sprigs are placed in cloth pouches and placed in closets, pantries, and storage tubs to keep bugs at bay while adding a fresh scent.
   4. Oil...added to warm grape seed oil, tea tree will release precious oils making a wonderful addition to soaps and skin treatments.
   5. Compost..spent sprigs are tossed under plants and into the compost bin lending their qualities to the soil.
   Our tea tree grows in full sun with well drained soil. Yearly additions of compost are added to the soil and a mulch of leaves keeps it moist. I don't technically prune it, instead, snip here and there as need demands.

   What about you? Do you have any tea tree uses to share with us today?



Michelle said...

I never heard of a tea tree before. I am going to have to look for one and see if it can survive here.

Dolly Sarrio said...

This must be where the tea tree essential oils come from. They claim it disinfects and cleans very well. I need one of those is very pretty.

Linda @ Linda's Lunacy said...

I didn't know that one could grow a Tea Tree. Makes sense, though. lol I'll have to look for one. Thanks for the info!

donna rae said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with Tea Tree. I use the essential oil all the time in homemade cleaning and care products, but had never thought to grow one!

Anonymous said...

Interesting... I'm gonna have to look into this one! I could see me getting some use out of this. Thanks for sharing!