Around Osceola

St. Cloud Xmas tree SWAP in its 10th year

Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

By Ken Jackson

Staff Writer

If your Christmas tree is still up, chances are it has outlived its usefulness and lifespan.

When it’s time to dispose of it, the city of St. Cloud Parks and Recreation’s Tree Advisory Committee offers up an annual alternative to putting that tree out to the curb to be hauled off by overworked trash collectors to clog up space at the landfill.

The TAC will offer up its 10th annual “Don’t Curb it, S.W.A.P. It” event Jan. 11 at Peghorn Nature Park and Trail. S.W.A.P. stands for St. Cloud Winning Arbor Patrol.

The event is an annual city effort to increase recycling awareness and to enhance the urban forest while avoiding neighborhood streets cluttered with dry, decaying and unsightly trees on the collection days immediately after the holiday season.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., all St. Cloud residents are invited to bring their live Christmas trees to the park to have them recycled and mulched on site. In return, participants can then select a containerized tree or plant for their yards and receive the recycled Christmas tree mulch to spread around the base of the newly planted tree or plant.

More than 500 containerized trees will be available (one tree per household), including elms, red maples, magnolias, crape myrtles, and palms on a first-come, first-served basis. Master gardeners will be on hand to match the right tree for residents’ yards.

St. Cloud Landscape Beautification Manager Kim Duffy, who has been involved in the event since it began, expects all the trees to be distributed because of continued community involvement in the event.

“So come early,” she said. “We have repeat customers who say they have different trees in their yard and try to get a new one each year, so we couldn’t do this without the community involvement we’ve had.

“It can get expensive to buy these trees, and we’re able to provide a monetary value at the end when people get rid of them. We’ve had people come from Orange and even Seminole counties in the past.”

Duffy said about half of the potted trees come from the city’s nursery facility, with the other half from donations or purchased wholesale.

This year’s 10th anniversary will be a celebration including recycling tips, door prizes, and giveaways from St. Cloud’s Parks and Recreation Department and Solid Waste Division personnel and Osceola County’s Solid Waste Division personnel.

For details visit the Parks and Recreation Web page at www.stcloud.org or call 407-957-7243.

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