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Cedar later! Say goodbye to your old Christmas trees at Mulchfest 2023

Dec. 21, 2023 By Kirstyn Brendlen

It’s the mulch wonderful time of the year!

Mulchfest, the city’s annual Christmas tree “tree-cycling” program, is returning to Brooklyn on Dec. 26. 

From Dec. 26 to Jan. 7, Brooklynites are invited to take part in the tradition by dropping their live Christmas trees off at one of 22 Mulchfest locations across the borough. From there, Parks Department staff will lovingly turn each tree into mulch, which will be used in parks and garden beds all over the city.

people chippinh trees at mulchfest

More than 58,000 trees were turned to mulch during Mulchfest 2022 – a new record. File photo courtesy of NYC Parks

Parks is thrilled to be kicking-off this year’s Mulchfest!” said Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue in a statement. “Last year, New Yorkers went above and beyond in their tree-cycling efforts, setting a new Mulchfest record of more than 58,000 trees.”

According to the city’s Parks Department, mulch deters weeds, adds nutrients to the soil and allows the soil to maintain moisture, and keeps plant roots warm in chilly weather – so all those old Christmas trees help make the city’s parks and gardens healthy and resilient. 

Plus, mulching is one of the most eco-friendly ways to dispose of a live tree: like any organic waste, Christmas trees won’t decompose properly in a landfill, and are likely to end up sending more hazardous methane gas into the atmosphere. 

kid and parent at mulchfest

A father and son carry their tree to the chipper in Marine Park in 2017. File photo by Jordan Rathkopf

The highlight of Mulchfest is Chipping Weekend, when New Yorkers can haul their trees to a designated chipping site and watch it get mulched — then take home a back of fresh mulch to use in their own gardens. 

Mulching nurtures soil health and allows the community to get involved in sustainable practices, creating a shared sense of environmental stewardship,” Donoghue continued. “Here’s to breaking the record again at Mulchfest 2024!”  

Before heading out to a Mulchfest location, be sure to remove all ornaments, lights, plastic netting, and wires from your Christmas tree.

mulchfest bags

During Chipping Weekend, bring your tree down to a chipping site in exchange for a bag of fresh mulch! File photo courtesy of NYC Parks

Don’t fret if you can’t or don’t want to drag your tree to the chipper — the Department of Sanitation will also pick up and compost trees and wreaths curbside on your regular compost pickup day. Remove any decorations, lights, and wires and set your items out at the curb the night before your scheduled compost day, and your greenery will be picked up and either composted or chipped. Trees and wreaths with decorations still attached can’t be composted, and will be thrown with the regular trash.

Brooklyn Mulchfest Locations 2023

Drop-off only:

  • Amazing Garden, 261 Columbia St. between Carroll and President streets in the Columbia Waterfront District
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5, Bridge Park Drive in Downtown Brooklyn
  • 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 Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint
  • Myrtle Village Green, 636 Myrtle Ave. between Kent and Franklin avenues 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 Weekend sites, available Jan 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 3 Plaza at 334 Furman St. in Dumbo
  • Cobble Hill Park at Clinton Street and Verandah Place in Cobble Hill
  • Domino Park at River and South 3rd streets in Williamsburg
  • 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 at Park Circle and Parkside Avenue in Windsor Terrace
  • Prospect Park at Prospect Park West and Third Street in Park Slope

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