Trees will be turned into mulch and used in community parks for landscaping and erosion control, and extra mulch will be available for residents to pick up for free.
Marjorie Hicks, Cherokee County stormwater coordinator, is helping to organize the county chipping events, and said recycling trees can help save the county money.
Christmas trees can be brought to two Cherokee County parks for recycling until Jan. 31. Free mulch can be picked up after Jan. 15, Hicks said.
“The mulch is typically very course, large ragged pieces, not like the fine bark mulch bought in bags,” Hicks said Thursday. “The larger mulch is better for large rustic landscaped areas or areas that are in need of ground cover to prevent erosion.”
The county will accept used trees at Hobgood Park, in the parking lot on Bells Ferry Road, Hicks said. Hobgood Park is at 6688 Bells Ferry Road in Woodstock.
The county will also accept trees at Sequoyah Park in the Hickory Flat community, Hicks said. Sequoyah Park is at 7000 Vaughn Road in Canton.
Hicks said if residents didn’t drop off their used trees to be turned into mulch, the county would have to spend more money on buying mulch for the parks.
Not only do the chips help out local parks, Hicks said recycling Christmas trees also helps to save valuable space in landfills.
“Christmas trees in landfills take up a lot of space; landfill space is expensive,” Hicks said. “They are not garbage, trash or debris, and since they are natural/organic, it is better they be used for mulch.”
Hicks said used trees must be stripped of any decorations and stands before being brought to be turned into mulch.
“The trees will be chipped and used for landscape mulch, so please do not bring any trees with artificial snow or tinsel left on them,” Hicks said.
Hicks said people who would like free mulch should call ahead to be sure there is mulch available. For information, the Cherokee County Recreation and Parks Department can be reached at (770) 852-2258.
Michael Brantley, Cherokee County parks division director, said mulch from the trees will go to parks across the county.
“We chip the trees up about two weeks after everybody is finished and then we use that in the parks for playgrounds, erosion control, that sort of stuff,” he said.
Other tree recycling scheduled
Along with the county parks’ tree-recycling events, three “Bring One for the Chipper” events are happening this weekend in different cities, as part of a statewide event.
• Boling Park in Canton, at 1098 Marietta Highway, will accept trees Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Olde Rope Mill Park in Woodstock will also be accepting used trees Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 690 Rope Mill Road.
The event at Olde Rope Mill Park will offer hot chocolate and coffee, along with free seedlings and seed packets for people to take home.
• The Holly Springs Fire Station will also participate in the event, accepting trees from now, through Sunday, and is located at 100 Hickory Circle.
The cities of Woodstock and Holly Springs collected 230 used trees in 2013, according to data from Keep Georgia Beautiful, the organization in charge of the “Bring one for the chipper” events.
Chris Heim, a local tree expert with Davey Tree, said the chipper events help the environment and local communities.
Heim said bringing trees to the event helps preserve limited landfill space and enhances local communities. Last year, “Bring one for the chipper” events recycled 164,806 trees.
“Of those, 160,462 were recycled into mulch by wood chippers for playgrounds, city and county landscaping projects and individual homeowner use, 2,586 trees were sunk into lakes across the state to provide fish habitats and 2,063 were used for fuel or other uses,” Heim said.
Since the program started two decades ago, 5.9 million trees have been recycled, Heim said.