There are a fair number of desolate-looking Christmas trees lying on Berkeley sidewalks, front lawns and curbs right now. Their owners presumably hope the city will be hauling them away for recycling any day. But some of them don’t qualify for that free service.

As the city states on its website, only trees that measure under four feet in length will be taken. “Residences may leave trees less than four (4) feet in length at the curb on their normal collection day from December 26th through January 31st,” writes the city in a notice published on its website.

Otherwise, citizens need to find a saw and get to work: “Holiday trees should be cut into sections no longer than four (4) feet to fit into your compost container with the lid closed.”

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said that last year, the length limit for holiday trees was five feet, but that the large trees and tree limbs were damaging the trucks, so this year they reduced it to four feet.

Also worth knowing: all lights, decorations, tinsel, plastic bags and plastic tree stands need to be removed before putting your tree, or parts thereof, outside. And the city will collect flocked trees, but flocked trees are not compostable so they would rather we  avoid them altogether.

If you just can’t kick the holiday spirit, or simply haven’t got around to divesting of your tree by the end of this month, starting Feb. 1, you may still put the chopped up parts of it into your compost bin, or dispose of it at the Berkeley Transfer Station at 1201 Second St. (off Gilman) for the minimum compost fee of $23. Flocked trees will be charged the minimum trash fee of $29.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...