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JOHNSON CITY — Now that the dust has settled from opening gifts, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with your natural Christmas tree.

One option involves the Pedernales Electric Cooperative Tree Recycling Program.

PEC customers can drop off undecorated natural trees now through Friday, Jan. 6, at office locations.

Crews will turn the tree into mulch, some of which will be donated to area parks and playgrounds within the co-op’s 8,100-square-mile service territory.

However, officials offer another program perk for customers.

“This is another great way PEC serves its members,” said George Leader, PEC’s vegetation maintenance manager. “We not only supply disposal services but allow members to have the mulch after we’re done.”

Members, along with municipalities and other entities, can call their local office and add their name to the list of customers for delivery of free mulch.

Participating PEC locations are in Bertram, Canyon Lake, Cedar Park, Junction, Kyle/Buda, Liberty Hill, Manchaca, Marble Falls, and Oak Hill. Drop-off hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Go to for more information.

Here are a few other ways to breathe new life into an old Christmas tree:

  • For personal recycling, remove the trees branches, rent or borrow a chipper, and distribute the material in the garden.
  • Sink a natural tree into a pond or private property waterway to provide a breeding environment for fish.
  • Pick a location on the property to erect the tree for an organic bird sanctuary using produce slices or bird feeders to attract wildlife. (Be sure to strip the tree of all decorations.)
  • Avoid burning a natural Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove because of the high content of flammable sap and oils; the smoke can also cause a dangerous buildup in the chimney.