Mulchfest 2023 — a time to repurpose our holiday trees


With the unseasonably warm days after New Years, the scent from the growing mound of Balsam and Frazier fir trees, former X-mas trees, fills the air in Washington Square Park, just east of the arch.

“Drop Your Tree Here” announces a nearby banner. It’s Mulchfest 2023 where all those evergreens that brought so much joy in New York City homes this Christmas, and the decorated ones in lobbies, local shops and commercial spaces find a new purpose.

Mulchfest 2023 runs from December 26 through January 8. With 73 total drop-off sites – 34 are chipping sites – across the five boroughs, including parks and Greenthumb gardens where New Yorkers can drop off their holiday trees, which are then chipped and recycled.

A cadre of interested City VIPs gathered Thursday morning under the Washington Square Arch to encourage New Yorkers to drop by their local parks to recycle their holiday trees.

Hard-working, chipping ready, Council Members Marte and Bottcher.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch remarked, “Today I’m going to branch out and talk about collection of a different kind – the best-smelling collection of the year.

From now until the 8th, New Yorkers can bring their trees to a Parks Department mulching site like this one. But anyone who doesn’t want to parade their pine to a park can instead set their spruce on the sidewalk for Sanitation.” Here’s a light-hearted approach to the important efforts of recycling Christmas trees.

The Commissioner noted that from January 6 until next Saturday, January 14, “Sanitation trucks will be tree-cycling,” with specific trucks along the City routes picking up the trees to recycle and compost—separate from regular trash. pick-ups. “Don’t worry,” said the Commish, “It’s okay to ‘leaf’ the tree on the curb.”

200,000 trees were picked up last year with anticipation that the numbers will higher this year. Clearly, these will be the best-smelling collection trucks in the city! Scouts are sent to make efficient pick-up routes and the public is asked to be patient.

The public is also requested to remove stands, tinsel, lights and ornaments before putting trees out for collection and not to wrap them trees in plastic bags.

The Washington Sq. Park banner encourage neighbors to leave their trees.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

After collection, the Christmas trees will be chipped, mixed with leaves, and recycled into compost for the city’s parks, institutions and community gardens.

Residents may also bring their trees to a Mulchfest site. NYC Parks Mulchfest 2023 will run through January 8. New Yorkers will be able to drop off trees at sites across the five boroughs.

Chipping Weekend is Jan. 7 and 8 where New Yorkers can actively mulch their trees and bring home a bag of milch.

Chipped trees are recycled; the mulch nourishes city trees and plants by deterring weeds, retaining moisture, preventing compaction, adding nutrients to the soil, and keeping roots warm. The mulch also finds its way to park paths and even dog runs.

For more than 20 years, Parks and DSNY (Sanitation) have collected and mulched trees to help plant beds and community gardens around the city grow.

CM Marte adds a tree to the chipper.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)