A pine way to die: Locals’ old Christmas trees pulverized into plant food at Mulchfest

Brooklyn Daily
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A family affair: Jennifer and Winston Chao, with their kids Astrid, Esme, and Caleb, have a great time at Mulchfest in Fort Greene Park.
Mulch to go!: Cara McGarian and Reed Ryan took home their own bags of plant food.
Hard work: Mike and Kris Norris haul their old conifer to Owl’s Head Park in Bay Ridge.
Into the chopper: Parks Department employees toss old pines into the wood-chipper.
That’s a lot of mulch!: A Parks Department employee watches as a truck unloads mulch in Prospect Park on Saturday.

Everybody chipped in!

Brooklynites schlepped their shedding Christmas trees to neighborhood parks last weekend, where the once-festive pines were pulverized into plant fuel during the annual tree-cycling event, Mulchfest. Bidding fir-well to the aging tannenbaums was a challenge for some holiday-loving locals, but one Fort Greener who struggled with tossing his conifer to the curb said grinding up the green thing was all worth it for a bag of fresh mulch.

“It is kind of sad to see all the trees laying on the sidewalk, but I figured I may as well do something productive with the tree — it seemed like a great alternative than just tossing it,” said Reed Ryan, who toted his tree to Fort Greene Park. “Once the weather gets a little better I’ll lay down some mulch. It smells nice.”

Another participant cheered the Department of Parks and Recreation for hosting the city-wide event — where residents could also simply drop off old firs for workers to smash into sustenance for borough plants — even though he didn’t stick around to take home the fertilizer his pine produced because the line was mulch too long to wait in, he said.

“It was a good idea,” said Bay Ridgite Blake Prentiss, who chucked his conifer at Owl’s Head Park. “I wish I got mulch, that would be awesome — all my plants are going to die now.”

But Prentiss said that leaving empty handed got him and his friends even more excited to destroy their holiday decor in 2019.

“We actually were like, ‘Oh, we can’t wait for next year!’ ” he said.

And other Brooklynites don’t even have to wait that long — parks department honchos on Monday announced they are extending Mulchfest through Sunday for those who couldn’t trek to their neighborhood meadows in last weekend’s near-negative temperatures.

Locals can drop off their old tree at green spaces across the borough any day before Jan. 14, but those who do won’t leave with mulch of anything because on-site wood-chippers won’t be available.

Tannenbaum-hording residents can also say wood-bye to their firs by tossing them curbside for pick-up until Jan. 13.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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