Slot layout trees from yard waste
 By: Steve Phillips 01/04/06

 My source for yard waste trees is a perennial plant called "Sedum Autumn Joy", or sometimes call "Sedum Stonecrop". It was a few springs ago when I first thought of using these dried plants as trees. So once I had my new 4-lane track built I decided to try to make trees out of them. After doing the simple transformation of a few of these plants into trees, and after a year of them holding up well in my track layout I thought that I would show you what I did.

 This is how the plant looks in late summer and into fall.

This is how the plant looks in winter/early spring.

After harvesting my soon to be trees from the planting bed I first removed all the remaining leaves from the stalk.

Before and After leaves are removed.

Next I got out a spray can of forest green paint. I thoroughly coated the dried flower part of the plant with the green paint.

Then after letting the painted flower dry, I used a small paintbrush and some light brown paint to cover the green painted stems leaving the flower covered in green. This was a little meticulous but went pretty fast. Then I painted the rest of the stalk with the brown to make it all match. That was it, I had a tree!  


I used a few different methods to mount my new trees depending on where the tree was going to be placed. Some times the trees look better if you glue two trunks together and then place them. If the tree was going into foam, I glued a small finishing nail into the hollow stalk and then just pushed the tree into the foam.

If I wanted to mount the tree into the carpeted wood areas, I would pound a finishing nail into the wood and then slid the tree on to the nail.


And where I have removable sections of set in place scenery, I use a screw. I just ran the screw up from the under side of the scenery section then slid the trees onto the screw.


Sometimes I would hot glue the trees to the nail/screw to get it to set right, but not all of my trees are glued down.
My home made trees have been standing for over a year and still look good. Once in awhile you will find a little piece of the flower that has fallen but for the most part they are holding up good! They are kind of delicate and will break if abused. But if one get destroyed in a crash or wrecked by a neighborhood kid, just replace it, they are cheep!
This is a very inexpensive way to get more trees onto your layout. If you don't have any of these plants at your house look around, they are fairly popular, maybe your neighbor has some and will let you have a few stalks. He will just be throwing them away or burning them in spring, so you will be saving him work!.
I hope some of you will find this helpful in adding scenery to you track layouts. If you have any questions or comments you can contact me at:

  • Regards Steve

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