|Boulevard trees require|
pruning this winter.
Previously the headline of this post used the word "Required". This was incorrect and the corresponding text has also been updated. Although the City is not requiring owners do this, there are many good reasons to do so. More info is avaivalbe in a 11/29/12 post.
Hugo's Public Works Director, Scott Anderson has been discussing Victor Gardens' boulevard trees with VG's Community Manager, Kari Miller, VG's landscape contractor Goetz Landscape, and myself. Mr. Anderson has asked me to reach out to residents via email and the website.
Boulevard trees are generally described as the trees planted between the sidewalk and the street curb. This area is part of the City's “street right-of-way” easement. According to VG's Covenants, each individual Single Family Village (SFV) owner is responsible for the health and upkeep of their own boulevard trees. If a SFV boulevard tree dies, the owner must replace the tree. Over the last few years, the City of Hugo's crews have begun pruning boulevard trees within Victor Gardens' city-owned parks. These include Arbre Park, Victor Square and Val Jean Park. The time has come for the rest of the neighborhood's boulevard trees to be maintained.
Q: Why do my boulevard trees need to be pruned?
Pruning provides clearance for buses, garbage trucks, street sweepers, moving vans and other large curbside vehicles that can damage, or be damaged by, low branching. Pruning provides overhead clearance for pedestrians, and also facilitates visibility of traffic signs and allows motorists a clear view of intersections and driveways. Some varieties of trees also cast a dense shadow. Trimming them allows sunlight to penetrate lawn and shrub areas. In some cases, removing lower branches will eventually increases nighttime security because streetlights can bathe a broader area.
Q: How high up do my boulevard trees need to be pruned?
Branches on trees in the boulevard are generally pruned to provide more clearance than trees in parks, golf courses or on private property. The City of Hugo is asking that we prune our boulevard trees so that there is a 12 to 15 foot clearance to the ground. This provides enough clearance and will develop the attractive tree lined street canopy envisioned by the original development plan.
Q: Why should seemingly healthy lower limbs be removed?
Lower limbs that will eventually become problems because of their location are best removed when the tree is young. Low limbs do not rise higher as the tree gets older, but they do bend closer to the ground as the tree matures.
Q: What other kind of pruning is healthy for the trees?
Pruning trees to remove dead wood, rubbing branches, crossed limbs, split or hollow limbs, storm damage, shattered wood and trunk sprouts are great ways to keep trees healthy. Pruning when the tree is young is less stressful and looks better than pruning a mature tree.
Q: My trees seem too small to prune now. Isn't it too early?
It's important to develop a strong primary (scaffold) branching structure while the tree is still young. As they grow, these trees will possess a stronger branching framework that requires less corrective pruning maintenance and will be able to withstand wind, ice, or snow events. With the smaller size of some of our neighborhood's newer trees, this may be difficult and still have the tree's canopy look good. In these cases, lower limb pruning to a 15 foot clearance may be spread over a course of a few years.
Q: What time of year is best for pruning?
Winter is the best season for pruning. Trees are dormant during winter and are less susceptible to stress and introduction of disease and pests. Spring will bring a new flush of growth in the top of the tree and the upper branches and will provide nutrients for the lower portion to heal properly. Winter's also a great time because problem branches are easily spotted without leaves obstructing the view.
Q: When should this pruning take place?
This winter, before new buds start to form.
Q: Are trees other than my boulevard trees involved?
The City is primarily interested in you properly maintaining your boulevard trees. Many of the same reasons for pruning boulevard trees also applies to other trees on your property. Thoughtful pruning is a good way to promote healthy growth and sturdy structure.
Q: What do I need to do now?
In the next few weeks, I'll follow up with more information on what SFV residents need to do regarding their boulevard trees this winter. I've included some links below to give everyone a better idea of what's involved: