Tree Trimming Tips
Low hanging tree limbs can create a hazard for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Low hanging tree limbs can result in problems for all involved and delay maintenance activity. When a vehicle strikes a low hanging limb, it can result in property damage to the vehicle and significant damage to the tree.
Common city tree code violations occur in four areas:
Sign visibility – Trees must be trimmed so their canopies don’t interfere with the visibility of stop signs, yield sign, school crossing signs, street address signs and other regulatory signs.
Clear vision – trees or bushes must be trimmed so motorists or pedestrians can see oncoming traffic at intersections.
Sidewalk clearance – Trees or bushes must not obstruct pedestrian travel. Trees adjacent to pedestrian walkways need to have a minimum canopy clearance of 8 feet above grade.
Street side clearance – Tree canopies that extend over streets need to provide canopy clearance of at least 15 feet above the pavement. Low-hanging trees interfere with motorists and cause issues for snowplow operations, paving operations, garbage collection, street sweeping operations and more.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain their trees and planting material. If there is a complaint or an operation that is being altered due to your trees or planting material, you may receive a visit from a Code Enforcement Officer to correct the issue.
Urban Forestry is the planning, establishment, protection and management of trees within the community. Trees cool the atmosphere, beautify the surroundings, reduce traffic noise, increase property value, decrease electricity demands, influence public health, clean the air and feed the soil.
Our Urban Forestry division cares for more than 13,000 trees within our community forest. It is a great natural resource and the City is dedicated to its protection and renewal.
Plant With a Purpose
The right tree for the right space not only adds value to your home but also cools the air, calms traffic, provides needed habitat for birds and wildlife, and reduces heating and cooling costs.
Always plant with a purpose. Knowing when, what, where and how to plant is essential to a tree’s life span. If you want trees to be assets (rather than just another yard problem) that continually appreciate in value, you need to keep in mind the following tips during and after planting a tree:
Time of year – the best time to plant trees is during the dormant season, in the fall after leaves drop or early spring before buds break. Weather conditions are cool and allow plants to establish roots in the new location before spring rains and summer heat stimulate new top growth.
Tree selection – Think right tree, right place. If that sounds familiar, it is the important motto used by our local power company provider, “Rocky Mountain Power.” Believe it or not, many people do not take tree growth into consideration when choosing what tree to plant. Think about how the tree will look in 50 years as well as this planting season. (Many local nurseries can provide you with pictures of mature trees.) Consider the trees’ mature height, width, and overall shape before making your final choice.
Site selection – Choose a location with the right soil, space, and light conditions for your tree. Will your new tree need shade or full sun? Wet soil or dry? What drought conditions and other environmental factors might affect the trees’ long-term health? Remember to look up and check for overhead power lines and avoid planting near or underneath them. Also locate any possible underground utilities by calling Blue Stakes at 800-662-4111. Remember that tree roots spread well beyond their branches over time so pick a planting spot with plenty of area for outward root growth.
Proper planting – Most of a tree’s roots root growth will be horizontal, not deep. Remember the tree roots will go where “the goodies” are – water, oxygen and nutrients. So, the hole needs to be wide, typically about three times the width of the root ball. The depth of the hole will depend on the measured depth of the root ball. It is better to plant the tree slightly higher so that the root flare from the trunk is visible at or above the ground level. Too often trees are planted too deep. Loosen the soil around the planting hole to give tree roots ample room to grow. Straighten the tree before refilling with soil. Fill the hole gently but firmly and mulch around the base of the tree. After planting, water thoroughly. Check the soil moisture at least once a week (more during the hot summer months) and water when needed. Avoid “drowning” your tree – tree roots need oxygen, too! Avoid pruning your tree (removal of damaged limbs is okay) or at least three years to allow the tree to utilize all of its leaves on its branches to help nourish the roots.
Tree planting with a purpose can also be fun. Plant trees so they have meaning, so as they grow, they grow lasting memories. For example, plant a tree on the birth year of a child and as they get old enough to understand they will love their tree and know exactly the age of their tree. Or plant trees in memory of people or pets. You can also plant a tree the year you get married so every time you look at it you remember that happy day. Be creative so that trees are more than just an asset that is part of your yard. Happy Planting!