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Trimming the tree after Christmas
Recycling effort to get under way
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4-H Club member Megan Gravitt adds a Christmas tree to the pile during a recycling event in January. This year's effort is getting under way. - photo by File photo

Where to go   (click any name to view a map)

Christmas tree recycling sites include the following: 

Home Depot, Market Place Blvd., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 3

Home Depot, Peachtree Pkwy., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 3

Vickery Creek Elementary, Dec. 26-Jan. 3 anytime. Ends at 4 p.m. Jan. 3.

Coal Mountain, Old Atlanta and Tolbert Street recycling centers, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 27-Jan. 17. Locations closed New Year's Day.

While that Christmas tree in the living room may seem a beacon of holiday cheer this morning, tomorrow it could simply take up space.

Sad as it may seem, retiring a tree is necessary. But that doesn't mean we can't do Mother Nature a favor when it comes time to set the Christmas spirit aside.

"Bring One for the Chipper" has been a Forsyth County tradition for 14 years. During that time, the Keep Forsyth County Beautiful-sponsored event has collected nearly 56,000 trees for mulch and wildlife enhancement.

Organization director Tammy Wright said many of the Christmas trees end up on the bottom of Lake Lanier coves.

"Some people who live on the lake like to sink trees to attract fish," she said. "With the lake being down, most of the trees will be turned into mulch."

Wright said Christmas tree mulch is highly desirable.

"It works well, and it has a good smell to it," she said.

Residents may pick up mulch on a first-come, first-serve basis at the county's roads and bridges department on County Way beginning Jan. 3. Those interested should bring their own wheelbarrows.

Mulch is free, as is Christmas tree disposal. Free seedlings will also be available at all six tree drop-off locations while supplies last. Varieties available include dogwoods, red cedars, chestnut oaks and catalpas.

A wood chipper processes the trees into mulch, the uses of which include nature trails, playgrounds and landscaping projects.

Wright said residents who want a large quantity of mulch can place an order for delivery online at, but must be "willing to take a whole truckload."

To Wright, recycling Christmas trees just makes sense.

"It's convenient, it's free and it puts your tree to good, practical use," she said.

County Extension Service Coordinator Carol Propes agreed.

"It's a great thing to take advantage of," she said.

Propes and other 4-H and Extension Service volunteers work at the Market Place Home Depot drop-off site.

Other volunteers include local school clubs, which dig through the trees picking out ornaments and tinsel that can't be processed in the chipper.

Wright encouraged residents to remember to remove these items from their trees.

"Especially wooden stands, those are really hard to get off," she said.

Last year, residents recycled nearly 7,000 trees.