Those itching to have their Christmas tree picked up by the Boy Scouts will have to wait until next Saturday, Jan. 12 to say goodbye.




The pickup is a week later than usual because the first January weekend fell during the schools' winter break when several scouts were out of town, said Jeff Jones, an assistant scout master with Troop 112.




The scouts collect the trees and deliver them to the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department, where they are turned into wood chips that usually cover 50 to 60 yards, parks officials said.




For those who can't wait that long to dispose of their tree, they can compost the tree themselves or take it to the Valley View transfer station for free, said Russ Chapman, co-owner of Ashland Sanitary.




"I'd hate to see somebody make a special trip all the way out there just for that," he said. "If people can't wait until the 12th, we'll take it."




The longer a Christmas tree stays up, the greater the risk of fire, said Ashland Fire Marshal Margueritte Hickman.




"I would not particularly say it's a blanket hazard," she said. "Whether it's been up for a day or three weeks, if it's dry, then it poses a greater hazard than when it's fresh."




If the tree is brittle or needles fall off when the branches are pulled, the best bet is to get rid of the tree, or at least set it outside in the rain, she said.




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