Q. In my latest PNM bill the flier suggests recycling our Christmas tree. Do you know the where’s and when’s of this project? – R.T., Albuquerque
A. Here’s all the information I’ve been able to glean so you can have the cut tree that graced your home through the holidays continue to be useful.
Here in Albuquerque, until Jan. 9, you can drop off the tree at one of three separate locations.
• Montessa Park Convenience Center, 3512 Los Picaros SW.
• Eagle Rock Convenience Center, 6301 Eagle Rock NE.
• The Ladera Golf Course, 3401 Ladera Drive NW.
All three locations will accept the trees from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. This much-needed and appreciated event is sponsored by the Solid Waste Division of the City, Parks and Recreation, and PNM.
In Rio Rancho and Sandoval County, there are two locations to drop off your tree again until Jan. 9.
• Rio Rancho Sports Complex, anytime, 3501 High Resort Blvd.
• Sandoval County Landfill, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 2708 Iris Road.
Both communities’ programs do ask a couple of things of you in order to partake of this marvelous service.
• Remove all of the decorations and as much of the tinsel, if you use it, as possible.
• Make sure there is no stand attached to the tree, be it a metal type or a homemade wood job.
• Remove all of the lights.
Crews will run the trees through those amazingly efficient chipping machines, and voila, your tree becomes a most useful product, mulch.
The mulch is used in conservation projects, so all and all, it’s a very good thing to do! Another nifty thing is if you want to take some of the mulched chips home, you can do that and it’s free.
You will need to bring manageable buckets and your own shovel in order to collect the chippings, as the staff isn’t permitted to assist in any way, shape or manner.
Now that you have all the information I have, I do have a big request for you. When you are transporting your tree, please make sure to tie it down.
There are few things more excitingly terrifying than having to dodge a tree that has managed to be blown out of the bed of a truck. Remember the trees are a whole lot lighter in weight than when originally purchased and can far too easily blow out of a truck bed. So please, tie them down for transport.
So, what could you use the free mulch for? I placed it one year between rows in a veggie garden and it kept the soil from blowing away or being a muddy mess when it rained. You could layer it around perennial garden beds so the soil temperature would stays more constant.
I would suggest you remove it in the spring since this mulch is very raw and would rob the soils underneath of most nutrients while it was aiming to become compost.
You could add it to a compost pile come spring making sure to make sparse layers of it so it could compost easier in the pile. A thick layer of the pine chips would take quite a while to become absorbed, usable compost for sure.
If you don’t have a compost pile, collect it in the early spring while you are cleaning up just in time for the first green-waste recycle event.
I have also in the past piled it on top of my empty large flower pots during winter. It smells so fresh, and again keeps the potting soil from being blown away.
There you go, a simple free and responsible way to give the tree that graced your home yet another way continue doing good things.
Happy New Year to you all while you’re out there Diggin’ In.
Tracey Fitzgibbon is a certified nurseryman. Send garden-related questions to Digging In, Albuquerque Journal, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109, or to email@example.com.