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  • Cleaning up Christmas

    With the Christmas presents opened and the new year rung the holiday season is coming to an end.

    Ands life starts to return to normal and the decorations and lights are put away the city is providing some help, at least as far as the Christmas tree is concerned.

    The city parks department has set up a collection site for the month of January at John Peake Park.

    “We will have a drop off site at John Peake Park right at the boat launch ramp,” said City of Chestermere Parks Supervisor Rick Van Gelder.

    He explained that they keep the collection site open until the end of the month because while some people like to clean up Christmas right away, other like to let the holiday’s linger a bit.

    “We found over the last two years we’re still getting drop offs close to the end of the month,” said Van Gelder.

    He asks that residents dropping off their tree’s make sure that all of the ornaments and tinsel are removed and that they are not in any kind of bag.

    “Just have them as the plain raw tree,” said Van Gelder, “because what we will do is chip them right on site.”

    At the end of January, parks workers will bring the city’s chipper to the site and begin the work of chipping all of the collected trees.

    While they have never done an exact count of how many trees they chip, Van Gelder estimates that they get, “a couple hundred trees,” each year.

    Despite the number of trees they have to chip up, Van Gelder said it is a surprisingly small amount of mulch that a tree produces.

    “Two hundred or 300 trees seems like a lot but if you chip away a tree it’ll basically turn into a shovel full of mulch,” he said.

    He estimates that they will only get about between five and six cubic yards of mulch from the Christmas trees.

    Once chipped the trees will be added to the city’s supply of mulch at the public works building.

    In addition to the Christmas trees, Van Gelder said that they accept pruned branches from residents to chip into mulch.

    “We do…accept branches here at public works that we chip up,” he said, “we have a bin at public works where it’ll be full of mulch as well as compost.”

    “It is available for residents to take and use for their home use for free,” said Van Gelder.

    The city has mulch available year-round for residents to use.

    “We’ve always got mulch in the bins here for residents to use even if in the fall,” he said.

    Besides being free, Van Gelder said that what differentiates the mulch they have from what can be bought in stores is that they chip the entire tree.

    “If you look at what we do we’ll chip pretty much everything so it could be spruce or pine or poplar trees or whatever else it is,” he said.

    Whereas in stores one is generally able to by either bark mulch or decorative mulch.

    Van Gelder highly recommends adding mulch to gardens.

    “Mulch is always good to add to your bed it helps retain water, so it reduces your water consumption,” he said.

    Both what the city has and bark mulch will break down and add organic nutrients to the soil and help slow the growth of weeds.

    “So, there is benefits to mulching up the beds,” said Van Gelder.

    Whatever mulch that residents don’t use is used by the parks department in the various flower beds located throughout Chestermere.