Christmas Tree Collection and the Invasive Elongate Hemlock Scale


On December 26, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) issued a notice that an invasive species known as the elongate hemlock scale was found on evergreen wreaths, boughs, and other evergreen ornaments.

As previously noted, the Streets Division will not collect wreaths, evergreen rope, garlands, boughs, and similar evergreen ornaments when crews pick up Christmas trees.  These items should be placed into the tan refuse cart for disposal, per the previous directions from the Streets Division and the notice from DATCP.  

The DATCP notice will not impact curbside collection of Christmas trees in Madison by the Streets Division. DATCP did not state that Christmas trees have been impacted by the invasive species, therefore the Streets Division process for collecting and mulching Christmas trees should not result in the spread of the invasive.

Residents who wish to utilize the curbside collection service for Christmas trees should follow previously released guidelines, repeated below.

The Rules for Christmas Tree Collection
Failure to follow the below list of rules may result in the tree not being collected.

  • Remove all tree stands regardless if they are metal, plastic, or wood.
  • Remove all tree decorations such as lights, ornaments, or other metal objects.
  • Remove any tree bags, and any other foreign object.

The above listed items may damage the wood chipping equipment used to process collected trees, so they must be removed.

Where to Place Your Tree for Collection
Trees must be placed at the public road edge, and must be accessible by collection crews.

Also, if the trees become buried with snow while awaiting collection at the curb, residents are asked to dig out the trees so they are accessible to the crews.

When to Place Your Tree for Collection
The Streets Division performs two rounds of Christmas tree collection.

  • Round One Begins January 2, 2019: Residents who wish to have their tree picked up during the first round should have their tree to the curb by January 2.  Trees set to the curb on or before January 2 will likely be collected prior to January 18, 2019, depending on weather conditions and crew availability.
  • Round Two Begins January 22, 2018: Residents who wish to have their tree collected during the second round should have their tree to the curb by 7am on January 22. Trees set to the curb at this time will likely be collected prior to February 8, depending on weather conditions and crew availability.

Trees placed to the curb after January 22 may not be collected until regular brush collection begins in the spring of 2019.

Residents who wish to have their Christmas trees collected at the curb prior to the spring must have their tree to the curb before January 22. 

What Happens if It Snows
The Streets Division is the primary agency responsible for servicing city streets during snow and ice events.  If conditions require, crews will be diverted from tree collection to assist with maintaining the roads. This may result in pickup delays.

Residents are reminded to remove trees from the snow if they become buried. Collection crews will not be able to collect ones that are concealed or inaccessible due to snow.

Drop-off Sites
Madison residents may also bring their Christmas trees to one of the Streets Division drop-off sites.  The sites are located at 1501 W. Badger Rd. on the southwest side and at 4602 Sycamore Ave. on the east side.  The drop-off sites are open from 7:30am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday.

Additional Information
Additional information regarding tree collection, and other winter-related city operations, can be found on the City of Madison's Winter website,

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Alder Juliana Bennet

Alder Juliana Bennett

District 2
Contact Alder Bennett