It's a tradition Joe Brown enjoys every year: purchasing a real Christmas tree at St. Mary's Catholic Church in German Village.

It's a tradition Joe Brown enjoys every year: purchasing a real Christmas tree at St. Mary's Catholic Church in German Village.

But part of the custom will change this year: Columbus will not pick up trees left on the curbside. Instead, the city will ask residents like Brown to take their real firs to one of roughly a dozen drop off sites throughout the city.

Brown, a German Village resident, called the news "pretty upsetting" but not enough to change his annual routine.

"I love having a real tree," he said. "I might be the only person in Columbus who has a real tree."

The city of Columbus is accepting discarded evergreens from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 2, 9, 16 and 23 at the three Division of Refuse collection facilities: 4260 Morse Road, 2100 Alum Creek Drive and 1550 Georgesville Road.

When disposing of the trees, take off all decorations, tinsel included, and do not place trees in tree bags, said Rick Tilton, assistant director of public service. Any tree 5 feet or taller must be cut in half, he said. Tree stands, artificial trees, additional yard waste or trash will not be accepted.

Other non-city drop-off sites include 7800 Jackson Pike, 6747 Taylor Road SW, three Kurtz Bros.' locations -- 2850 Rohr Road, 6055C Westerville Road and 6279 Houchard Road -- and four Ohio Mulch stores -- 4120 Roberts Road, 4665 Westerville Road, 1600 Universal Road and 537 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.

"We want to make this is as convenient as possible," he said.

Those who have curbside, yard-waste removal with Rumpke should call the hauler for tree-disposal requirements, Tilton said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com