It’s time to mulch!
The best part about a live Christmas tree is that it can be returned to the earth at the end of the holiday season — and the best and most fun way to see your tree off here in Brooklyn is at Mulchfest, an annual tradition hosted by the city’s parks and sanitation departments.
Until Jan. 8, Brooklynites can drop off live trees — stripped of any and all lights and decorations — at any of two-dozen drop-off sites throughout the borough, where they will be turned into nutrient-rich mulch or compost to protect and nourish plants and gardens all throughout the city. The city has been running the program for more than 20 years and last year, more than 50,600 live trees were recycled.
From now until Jan. 7, any dropped-off trees will be composted later on. But Jan. 7-8 is Chipping Weekend — parks and sanitation workers will toss your tree into a chipper right in front of you, and will send you home with a bag full of fresh mulch, perfect for making a winter bed for your backyard plants or for your favorite street tree. Live, organic wreaths and garlands can also be chipped — just be sure to remove all trimmings first.
No one is really sure whether real or artificial trees are more eco-friendly, but one thing is clear: Real Christmas trees are greenest when they’re properly disposed of – composted or mulched. When sent to landfill, trees (like all other organic waste) just end up sending more greenhouses gases into the air, contributing to climate change. But, when they’re added to a correctly-maintained compost pile — with plenty of fresh air, bugs and other microorganisms — the boughs break down into supercharged soil that the city then uses to fortify plant life in local parks and all over the city.
If hauling your tree to a local park for Mulchfest isn’t appealing or feasible, that’s OK! DSNY is also collecting and composting trees and wreaths curbside through Jan. 14 — just drag your tree out to the sidewalk like you would with your regular trash. Be sure to take all lights and decorations off of all of your greenery first, and remove all metal wires from your wreaths, and set them out as they are — no need for plastic bags! Trees and wreaths are collected separately from trash and recycling, so it may be a few days before it’s picked up.
Brooklyn Mulchfest locations, Dec. 26 – Jan. 8:
- Amazing Garden, 261 Columbia St. between Carroll and President streets in Columbia Street Waterfront District
- Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5, Bridge Park Drive in Downtown Brooklyn
- Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fulton Ferry Landing at Old Fulton Street and Furman Street in DUMBO
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade at Columbia Heights and Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights
- Brower Park at Brooklyn Avenue and Prospect Place in Crown Heights
- Coffey Park at Dwight Street and Verona Street in Red Hook
- Green Space at President Street, 222 Fifth Avenue at President Street in Park Slope
- Herbert Von King Park at Marcy and Lafayette avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant
- McGolrick Park at Monitor Street and Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint
- Myrtle Village Green
- Kent Avenue and Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant
- Prospect Park at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
- Sunset Park at 44th Street and 6th Avenue in Sunset Park
- Washington Park at Third Street and Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park
Chipping available on Chipping Weekend, Jan. 7-8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Brooklyn Bridge park at Emily Warren Roebling Plaza along New Dock Street in DUMBO
- Cobble Hill Park at Clinton Street and Verandah Place in Cobble Hill
- Domino Park at River and South 3rd streets in DUMBO
- Fort Greene Park at Washington Park and Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene
- Maria Hernandez Park at Suydam Street and Knickerbocker avenue in Bushwick
- Marine Park at East 33rd Street and Avenue U in Marine Park
- McCarren park at Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg
- Owl’s Head Park at 68th Street and Colonial Road in Bay Ridge
- Prospect Park, Park Circle at Parkside Avenue in Flatbush
- Prospect Park, Third Street at Prospect Park West in Park Slope
For more information, visit the NYC Parks Department website.