Mulch that Christmas tree for free

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
At right, Ryan Matney, arborist with the city of Farmington's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, puts a tree in to a wood chipper on Thursday at Berg Park.

FARMINGTON — Farmington and Aztec have opened locations for people to dispose of their Christmas trees.

Two tree recycling locations opened on Christmas Day in Farmington and trees will be accepted through Jan. 7 at both sites.

The locations are Berg Park, the collection site is the parking lot behind Washington Federal off San Juan Boulevard, and at Farmington Fire Department Station 5, near the intersection of Butler Avenue and East 30th Street.

Trees must be free of ornaments, lights and tinsel. No artificial or flocked trees – those sprayed with a fake snow substance – are accepted.

Farmington Clean and Beautiful program specialist Debbie Homer said trees are chipped into mulch then placed around trees and shrubs in city parks.

Free mulch from old Christmas trees is dumped by city of Farmington's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs on Thursday at Berg Park.

The mulch helps hold water and makes areas visually appealing, she said.

In addition to beautifying the parks, recycling trees reduces the number ending up in the landfill, Homer added.

She said both drop-off locations are open to the public regardless of a person's place of residence.

The service has been offered by the city for the past 12 years. The busiest days are Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, Homer said.

JD Randolph recycles his old Christmas tree for mulch on Thursday at Berg Park.

"It's been a very successful program," she said.

Several Douglas fir, Fraser fir and Noble fir trees were piled at the Berg Park lot Thursday.

A tag on a Douglas fir described the evergreen as having a "fresh cut holiday fragrance" and a "traditional Christmas tree."

The city of Aztec also set up a Christmas tree collection site until Jan. 11 at the north end of Riverside Park, 500 S. Light Plant Road.

Trees must be cleared of ornaments, lights, tinsel and fake snow.

Leland Neswood a park maintenance worker with the city of Farmington's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs loads a tree in to a wood chipper on Thursday at Berg Park.

Jeff Blackburn, supervisor for general services and parks for Aztec, said the trees will be turned into mulch and that mulch will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to residents.

"The city of Aztec is conscious about recycling and keeping our BLM lands clean," Blackburn said.

The service has been offered for a several years and participation remains steady, he said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at