2019-01-09 / Features

Dispose Of Your Christmas Trees And ‘Chip In’ With Mulchfest


As the time for wrapping up the holiday season approaches, Christmas trees have begun lining the curbs. Real Christmas trees are a tradition for many families and provide a homey authenticity that is not readily available with plastic trees. However, disposal can be very difficult and result in consequences if not done right. New York City has specific guidelines regarding what to do to dispose of both real and artificial trees. Be aware of them and follow the proper disposal rules to ensure your tree is taken care of.

Whether you’re disposing of a real or artificial tree, it is essential to remove all ornaments, lights, tree stands, and plastic bags. Not only will you want to keep your decorations for next year, they get in the way of carrying and breaking down the tree. Leaving anything on the tree might lead to it not being picked up. If you live in a building, be a courteous neighbor. Try to clean up the needles and branches that fall off when you’re dragging your tree out. There are special tree disposal bags sold to reduce the mess that can result, but if you decide to use them, be sure to remove the bag once you have brought your tree outside. As with the ornaments, leaving the bag on the tree will prevent it from being picked up. And if a tree remains curbside, you or your landlord may face a fine.

Curbside pickup for real trees began January 2, and continues through January 12. Artificial trees can be picked up with regular sanitation if they are less than four feet tall. If they are over four feet tall, you must schedule a bulk pickup appointment. Leave them next to your recycling containers on regular recycling days. Fake trees in good condition can also be donated or sold to donateNYC.

Another option is to reuse your (real) tree as mulch. Mulch is an amazing source of enrichment for soil. It conserves moisture, improves fertility of the soil, and reduces weed growth. It also adds an aesthetic appeal to the site. If you have a woodchipper handy, you can make your own mulch. The city will take and chip Christmas trees for free at Mulchfest events at selected park locations. Mulchfest will be held on January 12 and 13 from 10 am to 2 pm. As with curbside pickup, be sure to remove all ornaments, lights, and netting before bringing the tree to a Mulchfest location. Some sites allow you to take your very own bag of mulch home to use as a winter bed in your yard or for street trees. Bags will be provided.

Astoria Park hosts one of the biggest Mulchfest events in the borough. It is also one of the locations which allow you to take home a bag of mulch. Other Queens locations where mulch is available to take home are Brookville Park, Cunningham Park, Forest Park, Hunter’s Point South Park, Juniper Valley Park, and Travers Park.

Finally, the end of the holiday season doesn’t mean an end to spreading the cheer. You can volunteer to join the Stewardship Team to spread mulch in tree beds throughout the city during Mulchfest. It’s a great way to support the city, keep the holiday spirit going, and to start off that New Year’s Resolution of giving back to the community. For a full list of Mulchfest drop-off locations and more information, visit www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/festivals/mulchfest.

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