El Paso

County of El Paso to accept donations of live Christmas trees after holidays

County of El Paso to accept donations...

EL PASO, Texas - The County of El Paso is looking to "treecycle" this holiday season.

County Commissioners unanimously voted to accept donations of live-potted Christmas trees after the holidays to be replanted at county parks. 

"We're really excited about the partnership with some of the local nurseries. If someone purchases a tree from a local nursery, they can let them know that they want their tree to be picked up after the holidays," El Paso County Judge Ruben Vogt said. "We will utilize those trees at our various county parks, and if we have an overabundance of trees -- which is the hope -- we have a tree farm at Ascarate Park where we can place the trees at and utilize for future use."

Nationwide, 5 to 7 percent of the 32.4 million trees sold last holiday season were living varieties, according to National Christmas Tree Association. 

"I see a real benefit," interim Public Works Department director Norma Palacios said. "If we had to purchase them from our own funds -- we don't have that type of funding."

Michael Griffith is a manager at Eastside Discount Tree Nursery. He said they sell hundreds of Christmas trees every season and encourages those with fake trees to try them out.

"The thing about a live Christmas tree is that people buy them for the smell, the environment," Griffith said. "Just try it. Get the experience of a live tree."

Griffith said it's important to get a tree that is the right size for your home. The tree needs to be placed in a spot that's not near a heater or a chimney.

"[For] maintaining them, we suggest every so often put ice on top of the roots when you put them in. This way it slowly releases the water. It doesn't just gush out," Griffith said. 

The trees, if maintained properly, can last in a home for over a month.

If you're interested in donating your tree, you can tell the local nursery that you would like your tree picked up after the holiday season. County employees will then go to the nurseries to collect them.

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