Program gives new life to old Christmas trees


— Don't fear: Your dried-out, droopy old Christmas tree has a future in horticulture.

The city of Steamboat Springs is collecting Christmas trees as part of its annual recycling program. The trees are ground into mulch that residents can take for free this spring.

City Forester George Hine estimates that people drop off 500 to 800 trees, and the program is growing.

"Every year it seems like a little more," he said.

Hine said residents bring garbage bags or cans to collect the mulch, which can be used for gardening. The mulch usually is gone by late March or early April, Hine said.

"Before we're even finished with winter, people are grabbing some," he said.

The mulch is intended for residents, not commercial operations, Hine said. City staff uses leftover mulch for landscaping.

For safety reasons, Hine asks that people remove decorations such as tinsel and ornaments from trees.

What: Christmas tree recycling programWhen: Through the end of JanuaryWhere: Drop-off is at the northeast corner of the Howelsen Ice Arena parking lot, 285 Howelsen ParkwayCost: FreeCall: City Forester George Hine at 879-4300, ext. 327

"It's very important that they take all lights, ornaments, fastening tools and bases off," he said, because city staffers only want wood going through the chipper. He also said that people should remove plastic bags from trees.

The city does not accept wreaths because the wire used to hold them together also poses a safety concern.

--o reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail


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