City Pruning Street Trees
For the City Times
Submitted by City of Stevens Point City Forester Todd Ernster
STEVENS POINT — The City of Stevens Point Forestry Dept. personnel are currently pruning city street trees.
Stevens Point tries to maintain a four year pruning cycle. That means that every tree in the city right-of-way,(example: the area between the street and sidewalk), is pruned if needed, at least once every four years.
The city is responsible for all work performed on the trees in the right-of–way. The pruning crew is trained in proper pruning techniques that follow industry standards. Trees are pruned for several reasons. Trees are pruned when young to train them to maintain a strong central leader and sound branching structure. As trees grow they are pruned to provide sixteen feet of clearance above the street, and eight feet above sidewalks. Dead, diseased, insect infested, crossing and rubbing limbs, and competing leaders are some of the things the crew is pruning out of the street trees.
Winter is an excellent time to prune trees. With the leaves off, it is easy to examine the branching structure of the tree. City property owners are asked to take a look at their own private trees, and see if they are maintaining proper clearance above the sidewalk and street. If a street sign, such as a stop sign, appears that it may be obstructed by leaves once they leaf out, homeowners should prune to clear the obstructing branches. City personnel will take care of city owned trees.
Alleys which run behind some city property also require vegetation maintenance. A typical alley is at least fifteen feet wide and should provide sixteen feet of clearance. If this isn’t being met, homeowners are asked to prune or remove necessary vegetation along their adjacent alleyway.
Some trees should only be pruned during winter dormancy. Oak trees are an example of this. If a property owner is thinking of pruning oak trees, or removing oak trees for a new home, now is when it should be done. Oaks are susceptible to a disease called oak wilt which is nearly always fatal and difficult to control once established. It is recommended people stop pruning, wounding, or cutting oak trees from April through July. A more cautious approach limits pruning until October 1.
If you have any tree related questions, please feel free to contact me or check out the forestry website at stevenspoint.com/forestry. If you’re interested in setting up a time for taking pictures of the crew at work please give me a call at 346-1532.