Christmas trees’ second coming: Mulch

BY HEATHER DUBIN  |  The holiday season has come to a close, but your increasingly brittle Christmas tree can still serve a useful purpose, provided you remove it from your apartment.

This past Monday, the Department of Sanitation began its annual curbside pickup of Christmas trees, which continues through Jan. 15. After you have taken all the trimmings, lights and ornaments off your tree, leave it unbagged on the curb for collection.

Trees will be transported by Sanitation to its facility on Staten Island to be chipped and turned into compost. According to Kathy Dawkins, an agency spokesperson, the compost is available next spring, and will be spread on parks, ball fields and community gardens citywide. Last year’s post-holiday haul was about 147,000 tannenbaums, equal to about 1,200 tons of trees.

Another option is to bring your ornament-free tree to a local park on Jan. 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for MulchFest 2014, sponsored by the Parks Department. Chippers will be set up at this annual event to process trees into wood chips and mulch. You can even take home your own bag of mulch for your window box or rooftop garden, or create a winter bed for a street tree on a New York City sidewalk.

Trained Parks employees will monitor each site in the five boroughs. Local spots include Tompkins Square, Washington Square and Union Square parks and Stuyvesant Town.

This “treecyle!” opportunity mulched over 26,000 trees last year. Phil Abramson, a Parks Department spokesman, said the city hopes to top that number this year. For  more information visit  milliontreesnyc.org.

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