Dec. 21, 2023 By Kirstyn Brendlen
It’s the mulch wonderful time of the year!
Mulchfest, the city’s annual Christmas tree “tree-cycling” program, is returning to Queens starting Dec. 26.
From Dec. 26 to Jan. 7, residents are invited to take part in the tradition by dropping their live Christmas trees off at one of 15 Mulchfest locations across the borough. From there, Parks Department staff will lovingly turn each tree into mulch, which will be used in parks and garden beds all over the city.
“Parks is thrilled to be kicking-off this year’s Mulchfest!” said Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue in a statement. “Last year, New Yorkers went above and beyond in their tree-cycling efforts, setting a new Mulchfest record of more than 58,000 trees.”
According to the city’s Parks Department, mulch deters weeds, adds nutrients to the soil and allows the soil to maintain moisture, and keeps plant roots warm in chilly weather – so all those old Christmas trees help make the city’s parks and gardens healthy and resilient.
Plus, mulching is one of the most eco-friendly ways to dispose of a live tree: like any organic waste, Christmas trees won’t decompose properly in a landfill, and are likely to end up sending more hazardous methane gas into the atmosphere.
The highlight of Mulchfest is Chipping Weekend, when New Yorkers can haul their trees to a designated chipping site and watch it get mulched — then take home a back of fresh mulch to use in their own gardens.
“Mulching nurtures soil health and allows the community to get involved in sustainable practices, creating a shared sense of environmental stewardship,” Donoghue continued. “Here’s to breaking the record again at Mulchfest 2024!”
Before heading out to a Mulchfest location, be sure to remove all ornaments, lights, plastic netting, and wires from your Christmas tree.
Don’t fret if you can’t or don’t want to drag your tree to the chipper — the Department of Sanitation will also pick up and compost trees and wreaths curbside on your regular compost pickup day. Remove any decorations, lights, and wires and set your items out at the curb the night before your scheduled compost day, and your greenery will be picked up and either composted or chipped. Trees and wreaths with decorations still attached can’t be composted, and will be thrown with the regular trash.
Queens Mulchfest Locations 2023
|19th Street and Hoyt Avenue
|Captain Mario Fajardo Playground
|Kissena Boulevard at Booth Memorial Avenue
|196th Place and Union Turnpike
|Forest Park Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard
|Francis Lewis Park*
|Third Avenue and 147th Street
|Hunter’s Point South Park*
|51st Avenue and Center Boulevard
|John Golden Park
|215th Place and 33rd Avenue
|Juniper Valley Park*
|80th Street between Juniper Boulevard North and South
|Vernon Boulevard and Queensbridge Park Greenway
|Queens County Farm Museum
|73-50 Little Neck Parkway
|94th Street and Shorefront Parkway
|Roy Wilkins Park*
|177th Street and Baisley Boulevard
|78th Street and 34th Avenue
|Torsney/Lou Lodati Playground
|Skillman Ave and 42nd Street
|Windmuller Park at Lawrence Virgilio Playground
|34th Drive and 54th Street