It may not seem like it, but sooner or later, we're going to reach Springtime, and it'll be time to get out in the yard. Lawn-fertilizing, flower-planting, mulch-spreading Springtime. And, thanks to Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (KNIB), if you act while supplies last, you won't have to pay for the mulch.

Every holiday season, KNIB offers their Christmas Tree Recycling Program, where people drop off their trees to be chipped into mulch at designated locations instead of tossing the trees in a landfill, or along the side of a road somewhere.

Over the years of the Christmas Tree Recycling Program, KNIB estimates that around 750,000 trees have been collected and processed into tons of reusable mulch.

The best part, at least for those of us who use mulch in our yards, is that you can come back and reclaim the pine mulch that your tree has become. All for the low, low price of FREE.

You have through February (or while the mulch is still there) to stop by and load up as much pine mulch as you would like to take.

Here's where you go:

Belvidere: City of Belvidere Street Department, 515 West Locust Street, Monday-Friday 7am-3:30pm

Cherry Valley: Baumann Park, entrance on South Walnut.

Loves Park: Martin Park, north lot on Park Ridge Road.

Machesney Park: Machesney Town Center, 8750 North 2nd Street, southwest lot off South Mall Drive

Rockford: Alpine Park, 950 South Alpine Road; Andrews Park, 800 North Central Ave; Don Schmid Youth Sports Center, Riverdahl Park off Sandy Hollow; Gambino Park, 4400 block of Pepper Drive west of North Alpine Road; Levings Lake Park, entrance off Johnston Avenue.

Rockton: Boat ramp parking lot off Hononegah Road; Williams Tree Farm, 4661 Yale Bridge Road.

Roscoe: Valley View Farms, 6440 Belvidere Road.

Pecatonica: Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve, near picnic area, 4550 N Pecatonica Rd.


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