Street Tree Pruning

The Parks and Recreation Department has responsibility for maintaining all public trees in the City - the majority of these trees are located along City streets. The goal of the pruning is to make the public trees as safe and healthy as possible and to minimize any conflicts with pedestrian and vehicular traffic, traffic control devices and signs and buildings.

All pruning is performed according to the ‘Tree Pruning Guidelines’ developed by the International Society of Arboriculture and the ‘Tree Maintenance and Safety Standards’ (ANSI Z133.1 & ANSI A300) developed by the American National Standards Institute. These standards are the accepted standards of the tree care industry.

Pruning Operation

The City typically does Ordinance Pruning every year.  We like to do this pruning in the Winter and early Spring when the trees are dormant.  Though we do sometimes Pruning in the early fall too.

During the Ordinance Pruning operation, City staff attempts to achieve a minimum crown clearance of sixteen feet (16’) over center of street, twelve feet (12’) over the curb, and nine feet (9’) over sidewalks. All dead, dying, diseased and hazardous branches are also removed along with any vines that may be growing into the tree. All branches are pruned back from buildings, away from streetlights and are cleared from utility lines that run from utility poles to a house.  Our goal is to not remove more than 20% of a tree’s healthy branches at any one time, but in safety certain situations where safety is concerned we may have to take more.

During the pruning operation, trees are also checked for any structural problems. All structural problems will either be corrected, or if beyond repair, the tree will be evaluated for possible removal.

All newly planted street trees are given additional pruning during the first two years after planting. This pruning is to ensure the young tree develops with a strong branch structure. During the first two years the tree stake will also be removed and the area around the tree re-mulched with wood chips.

Any person having questions concerning the pruning of the street trees may call the Parks Forestry Unit at (314) 655-3656 or send an e-mail to