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12-28-11-grinding-greens.jpgChristmas is over and it is time to think about taking the tree down. While live trees are indeed beautiful, fragrant and celebratory, they come with a certain workload and set of responsibilities, one of which is their proper disposal. The Grinding of the Greens makes the decision about what to do with those leftover trees a little bit easier. Each year, Cape Fear Botanical Garden and the Public Works Commission of Fayetteville (PWC) team up to recycle and reuse local Christmas trees at the Grinding of the Greens.

Now in its 17th year, the Grinding of the Greens is as much a local tradition as Black Friday and the annual performance of the Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. In addition to its sentimental value, this event provides a common-sense approach to managing (at least a portion of) the aftermath of holiday festivities.

City residents, who set their tree by the curb, can feel great knowing that they are contributing to a good cause. County residents, or city residents who missed the pick-up dates for roadside pick-up, are welcome to bring their trees to the garden and drop them off to be ground into mulch. Of course, trees donated to Grinding of the Greens must be live trees with no decorations or lights left in them. Trees are collected at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden until Jan. 13. To drop off a tree, follow the signs to “tree drop-off” at the Fire Tower parking lot.

Bright and early on Jan. 14, PWC comes with wood chippers and mulchers to grind the trees into enough mulch to keep the plants at Cape Fear Botanical Garden covered (literally) for months.

It is a win-win-win situation. The mulch protects the plants from extreme temperatures and water loss, the trees don’t end up taking up space in local landfi lls and, for weeks after the event, the garden smells delightful.

It takes volunteers to make it happen, and year after year, folks gather to help feed trees to the PWC employees who man the shredders. In fact, the garden welcomes the extra hands.

In the following weeks, volunteers come out and spread the mulch throughout the garden, sprucing up the beds to ride out the rest of the winter season. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated at Cape Fear Botanical Garden

.Contact Cape Fear Botanical Garden at 486-0221 for more information.

Photo: Now in its 17th year, the Grinding of the Greens is as much a local tradition as Black Friday and the annual performance of the Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

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