Now that the ball has dropped in Times Square, some residents may notice needles dropping from their live Christmas trees as they kick off 2013.

Cities throughout the area offer mulching services that include grinding old evergreens and offering the chips back to owners for use in flowerbeds and landscaping.

Keep Killeen Beautiful has hosted a Christmas tree recycling event for several years and will offer the services from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Killeen Special Events Center.

“As the customers want, they can take a free bag of mulch back to put on their yard or use in landscaping,” said Colen Wilson, chairman of Keep Killeen Beautiful. “Early birds will get a free pine tree sapling.”

The goal of offering mulching services is a win-win for the city and for residents, Wilson said, because it keeps old trees out of landfills and the mulch retains moisture on the ground.

The Killeen event is open and does not require identification or proof of residency.

In Harker Heights, residents may bring their trees to the recycling center for mulching if they bring photo identification and a current water bill to prove they are residents of the city, said Yvonne Spell, Public Works administrative assistant.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Contact the Public Works Department for more information.

If a resident does not wish to take the mulch from their tree, the city will make use of it.

Standard procedure for brush collection is the preferred method in Copperas Cove. Brush piles are collected monthly for a fee of $6 per cubic yard for any amount in excess of 8 cubic yards, according to information on the city’s website.

Branches must not be longer than 10 feet in length, and there will not be more than one brush pickup of a 5-by-4-by-11-foot bundle per month per active account.

The schedule for residential brush pickup is on the Copperas Cove city website,, under the Solid Waste Department’s page.

Contact Audrey Spencer at or (254) 501-7476

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