A record number of real Christmas trees have been brought to New Forest District Council’s recycling points in eight car parks across the district this year.

After doing sterling service decorating our homes over the festive period, the trees are chipped and given a second life as mulch to be spread on council flower beds to keep weeds down.

Residents have so far dropped off more than 3,600 trees, an increase of around 20% on last year.

The council has had to draft in a second team of two to operate a second chipping machine to keep up with the numbers.

“We have never seen this quantity of trees before” said grounds maintenance supervisor Wayne Dawkins, “It is quite a mammoth job chipping them one by one: an average 7 foot tree takes around half a minute to chip, but unfortunately we are seeing more with lights and decorations left on.

Stripping those adds at least another minute to each tree.

“We will be able to use all the mulch on the borders in our car parks to keep the weeds down through the year.

Christmas tree chippings are highly acidic, so are a great natural way to suppress things like brambles and nettles as a one-off treatment.”

Christmas trees can be taken to recycling points at eight locations (see below) in the Forest until 13 January.

Residents are asked to please remove all decorations and lights from the tree before doing so. Christmas wreaths are not accepted because of the internal frame.

More information at http://www.newforest.gov.uk/christmasrefuse

Christmas trees can be taken for chipping to the following car parks until 13 January:

  • Brockenhurst – Brookley Road car park
  • Fordingbridge – A338 slip road car park
  • Hythe – New Road car park
  • Lymington – St Thomas Street car park (on Powlett Road, behind Marks & Spencer)
  • Lyndhurst – Village centre car park
  • New Milton – Crossmead Avenue car park
  • Ringwood  – The Furlong car park
  • Totton – Westfield car park