Need tree cutting or tree removal in Manhattan & the Bronx?

Living in the city, surrounded by concrete, makes those trees even more precious. But whether it’s pruning your tiny backyard tree or dealing with storm damage, the question remains: “What on earth do I do with all these branches?!”

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! NYC has specific rules for tree branch disposal, and I’m here to make it simple. Let’s break it down:

The No-No’s (Things You Definitely Shouldn’t Do)

  • Loose Branches = A Big No: Tossing a pile of branches by the curb? That’s a guaranteed ticket waiting to happen. NYC Sanitation won’t touch them.
  • Trash Can Temptations: Tempting as it is, don’t try to stuff branches into your regular trash. They’ll jam up the truck and could even injure sanitation workers.
  • Don’t Be a Dumper: Abandoning branches in parks, vacant lots, or with building trash is illegal dumping. It’s unfair to our city and carries hefty fines.

The “Get it Done” Guide

Disposal Method




– Produces nutrient-rich compost for soil enrichment – Reduces methane emissions in landfills- Supports healthy plant growth

– Requires space for compost pile – May take several months to a year for compost to mature- Requires regular turning and maintenance


– Suppresses weeds and retains soil moisture – Regulates soil temperature – Improves soil structure and fertility

– Requires a wood chipper or shredder – Can be time-consuming for large quantities of branches – Mulch may need replenishing over time


– Creates fertile growing environment for plants – Requires minimal maintenance once established – Utilizes woody debris effectively

– Initial setup may require significant effort – May attract pests during decomposition – Not suitable for all garden layouts

Woody Debris Habitat Piles

– Provides habitat for wildlife – Requires minimal effort to create – Enhances biodiversity in the yard

– May appear untidy to some individuals – Requires periodic maintenance to prevent overgrowth – Limited use for traditional gardening purposes

Community Recycling Programs

– Convenient disposal option for residents – Supports local waste management initiatives – Reduces waste sent to landfills

– Availability may vary depending on location – May involve additional fees or regulations – Branches may be mixed with other yard waste materials

  1. The Bundle Rule: It’s all about manageable bundles. They should be no more than 4 feet long and 2 feet thick and tied securely with twine or natural rope (no plastic or wire).
  2. Option #1: Curbside Compost is King (Most of the Year):
    • Got one of those brown organics bins? Perfect! Prep your bundles and set them out on your regular organics collection day.
    • Important: Only branches, sticks, and twigs in the bin. Remove any leftover decorations, nails, or other bits.
  1. Option #2: Hooray for Christmas Tree Collection (January):
    • Those post-holiday collection dates are your friend! Prep bundles the same way, and set them right next to your unflocked tree for chipping.
    • Bonus: The city turns those trees into free mulch – perfect for your sidewalk tree beds!
  1. Option #3: Embrace Mulchfest!
    • NYC Parks hosts these events twice a year (usually in January and sometimes in spring). Bring your branches to a designated park, and watch them get chipped on the spot.
    • DIY Gardener’s Paradise: You can even take home a bag of fresh mulch for your green spaces. Check the NYC Parks website for dates/locations.
  1. Option #4: Community Compost to the Rescue
    • Think green: Some community gardens or designated drop-offs accept branches for composting. A quick online search with “NYC compost drop-off” should turn up locations near you.
    • The Fine Print: They often have size limits and specific hours, so always call before hauling your branches over.
  1. Option #5: Call in the Tree Service Pros
    • Big tree job? Many branches? Hiring a professional might be the way to go. They have chippers and can haul everything away for you.
    • Often Included: If they’re doing the tree work, most services will include branch removal in their price.