Q: Having just moved here to Albuquerque before Thanksgiving, this was our first Christmas in our new home. We put up our tree and now are at a loss as to what to do with it since the Christmas holiday is nearly over. What does everyone that has a cut tree do with them here? – L.C., Albuquerque
A: First, welcome! I want you to rest easy knowing that this community does have an ecologically sound way in place for you to dispose of the tree that graced your home for the holidays. Best part of the “Treecycling” project here in the Metro area is that our fellow community Rio Rancho offers this service, too. Both communities have added help for these programs by PNM’s Vegetation Management crew, so you can see it “takes a village” to perform this marvelous service.
So, here in Albuquerque beginning Jan. 2 through Jan. 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can deliver your treasure to any one of three collection sites. In the south take the tree to Montessa Park Convenience Center, 3512 Los Picaros SE. In the northeast part of town use the Eagle Rock Convenience Center, 6301 Eagle Rock NE. For those of us on the West Side, the Ladera Golf Course parking lot, located at Coors Boulevard and Ladera NW, accepts trees for “treecycle.”
In the Rio Rancho/Sandoval County area there are two collection sites, but their program dates are a smidgen different. From Dec. 31-Jan. 11, use either the Sandoval County Landfill, 2708 Iris Road, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, or the Rio Rancho Sports Complex, 3501 High Resort Blvd. in Rio Rancho. You can add your tree to the pile there any time.
There are several things I need you to concern yourselves with to keep these services healthy. First, please make sure the tree is secured in the vehicle you transport it in. There are very few things more exciting than trying to dodge a tree on the freeway (or anywhere) while motoring down the road. TIE THE TREE DOWN SECURELY!
Then make sure the tree has been denuded of any and all ornamentation. Everything from tinsel to candy canes needs to be removed – completely. Any ornamentation can gum up the machines and the work could come to a grinding halt. So be responsible and “de-ornamentize” your tree.
The stand that held the tree up needs to go, too. In other words, you are bringing a tree in the same state you got it in. Just the tree needs to show up for “treecycling.”
Another perk of the treecycling is you can have, free as it comes available, some of the ground-up tree mulch. One caveat is you need to bring your own container, shovels and strong back to gather the mulch. The workers don’t assist with the loading of the mulch. But to have fresh pine-scented free mulch to line pathways or fill aisles between garden rows you might consider getting some of it.
Another way to utilize a tree would be to keep it in its stand and use it as a birdfeeder station in the yard until later in the spring. You could hang cut up apples, suet blocks, and even string popcorn to re-decorate the tree and offer our feathered friend a treat throughout the remaining winter months.
Then with next year’s first “Green Waste” collection the city offers, usually in the late spring, you can cut up and bundle it to have it whisked away.
Now you know there are several good options for you to put your tree to good use. I wish you all the best of this holiday season and a very Happy New Year while you’re out there Diggin’ In!
Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103, or to features@ abqjournal.com.