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‘Tis the season to recycle that Christmas tree

Don’t toss that live Christmas tree out for the trash when taking down the holiday decorations. Even without all the glitzy ornaments and lights, the tree can live on in the new year and be beneficial for the environment and a local agency.

Once again, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners program is sponsoring the Christmas tree recycling project in Pahrump under the direction of Debby Woodland, 4-H and Master Gardener coordinator.

The extension office will be collecting Christmas trees which will be chipped, turned into mulch and spread on the grounds of the Southern Nye County Cooperative Extension office at 1651 E. Calvada Blvd.

“We use it to cover any old mulch areas, any part of the dirt, other than walkways because what it does, it breaks down, it holds moisture in the soil, it feeds the roots of the trees – less evaporation; everything that we need out here in the desert to conserve water,” Woodland said.

Woodland wants to promote the importance of using mulch here in the valley for all gardeners.

“Plus, too, it’s shredded bark mulch. It doesn’t blow away,” she said.

Woodland said that most everybody out here tops with rock and that’s an easy way to get weed seeds, but mulch would prevent that.

Beginning today through Friday, January 22, trees can be dropped off at the cooperative extension office.

There will be a sign at the south end of the parking lot designating the area for dumping the trees.

“It’s easy access, people can just drive in 24/7, throw their trees; we have a sign that shows the area, they just throw them over the fence or even in the parking lot,” Woodland said.

All ornaments, lights and tinsel must be removed. Only live trees will be accepted. Please, no dumping of artificial or flocked trees since they cannot be recycled. Flocked trees are those colorful ones adorned with fake snow.

The tree recycling program has been very successful since it started several years ago according to Woodland, who estimated they had received around 120 trees last season.

As in previous years, Star Nursery and Home Depot will be donating their unsold trees to the environmental cause.

Alec Augustine is the new general manager at Star Nursery’s Pahrump location and thinks the Christmas tree recycling program is a “great idea.”

“I’m always trying to inform people on the many benefits of using mulch,” Augustine said. “Whether it be for your trees, your ornamental shrubs and bushes, your flowers, your seasonal garden, even for your fruits and vegetables and those kind of things.”

Augustine added that “repurposing” is good while waste is not.

“There’s you know, at times in the green industry, a lot of waste so the more we can do to repurpose things and recycle and reuse, the better.”

“The last few years we have partnered with them, we always check with them, make sure that they are doing it,” Kevin Brown, assistant manager of Pahrump’s Home Depot stated.

Brown agreed that the recycling program is “absolutely” a good one.

“It’s good for the store and the community, so it’s a good thing,” he said.

Even though Christmas tree sales have been good at both stores, the managers expect to have enough left-over trees to haul to the cooperative extension office. That’s where the recycling process happens with help from Nye County.

Joseph “Wade” Christensen is district road supervisor for the Nye County Public Works Department in Pahrump. His department got involved in the program back when they operated the landfill.

“It was a benefit for us because we would not only, you know, not have to put those trees in the debris pit and fill the landfill unnecessarily, but then there’s the added benefit, like you say, that the cooperative extension service gets the mulch,” Christensen said.

The wood chipper that is used was purchased several years ago with a grant for communities in Nye County.

“That’s where it rolls back into that community grant-funded equipment for the community’s benefit and use,” Christensen said.

You can contact the extension office at 775-727-5532 for more information on the tree recycling program.

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