Boulevard Tree Pruning

Forestry crews prune boulevard trees for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To remove dead limbs (typically limbs greater than 3" in diameter) that could fall and cause damage or injuries
  • To remove limbs that obstruct vehicle traffic, traffic signs and signals, street lighting, pedestrian walk ways, buildings,  and power lines
  • To provide street clearance for maintenance, delivery, and emergency vehicles (usually 14 - 16' above street level)
  • To fix growth defects and to establish good structure

Public property trees are pruned in accordance with the American National Standards and care is taken to ensure the health of the trees and the urban forest as a whole.

Xcel Energy is responsible for pruning trees along power lines. For information regarding power line pruning, please call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-4999.

Residents should refrain from pruning trees, but notify Forestry with trees of concern. However, residents may prune suckers from trees. Residents may submit a free permit application if they wish to hire a private contractor to prune boulevard trees.

Pruning Requests:

Contact Forestry with any pruning requests.

Forestry will not prune trees:

  • To improve a view
  • If it blocks a commercial sign
  • If it interferes with Xcel Energy owned utility lines (call Xcel at 1-800-895-4999 to request pruning)
  • To allow more sunlight to reach a solar panel, the ground, or a TV satellite

Boulevard Tree Removal

Forestry will consider boulevard tree removal if the tree:

  • Is dead or dying
  • Is deemed to be structurally hazardous by Forestry
  • Is or would be structurally compromised by construction in the right of way
  • Is infested with an invasive species or pathogen (e.g. emerald ash borer, Dutch elm disease, etc.)

Forestry will not allow boulevard tree removal:

  • To improve a view
  • If it blocks a commercial sign
  • If tree roots have clogged a sewer line
  • To allow more sunlight to reach a solar panel, the ground, or a TV satellite
  • To eliminate the need to clean up leaves, small sticks, or seeds that fall from the tree
  • For other reasons not associated with tree health

Marking for Removal and Notification of Removal to Property Owner:

Forestry marks trees for removal with a painted red ring about 4’ above ground level. Ash trees are commonly marked with a green painted ring at about 4' above ground level. More information on ash tree removals can be found on the emerald ash borer (EAB) page.

Typically, a tree is marked for removal at least a week before it is removed with some exceptions (e.g. dangerous tree, special projects, etc.). The actual removal may take place anywhere from a week after the original marking to up to a year or longer. Forestry will leave an information door hanger on the Property Owner/Resident’s front door to inform the resident why the tree has been marked for removal. Forestry only leaves a door hanger at the property where the marked tree resides.

Removal Requests:

A property owner may call Forestry to request that a tree be removed. Forestry will only review requests for boulevard tree removal when 1) the tree is on the boulevard adjacent to the property and 2) when the property owner has called to request the removal. Forestry will review removal requests and the final determination on whether a tree will be removed and who will be responsible for the removal rests with Forestry.

If a Property Owner receives an approved permit to remove a publicly owned boulevard tree, they may be subject to pay for the value of the tree and tree replacement costs. For example, a property owner may be subject to:

  • Hire and pay for the removal using a licensed contractor
  • Pay for the value of the tree removed*
  • Pay for the tree replacement costs*

*These same costs are applicable to anyone that removes a boulevard tree without an approved permit.

Boulevard Stump Removal

Forestry removes tree stumps of publicly owned trees with either city crews or contractors hired to aid in stump removal. Typically, Forestry and contractors remove stumps by grinding them into wood chips, hauling the wood chips away, and back filling the hole with soil. Stumps are removed when the ground is thawed and snow is sufficiently cleared.

Stumps are generally not removed immediately following tree removal. Stump removal may be limited in a given year due to weather, contractor availability, or available budgets.

Reasons you might request stump removal:

  • You have an approved permit from Forestry to plant a tree on the boulevard and your permit instructs you to plant the tree in a location that is currently occupied by a stump.

Stumps located on Structured Removal blocks of ash removals will be removed in the calendar year following the removal of the tree.  Permits for homeowners to grind those stumps early will not be approved. Planting permits for those areas will only be approved once the stumps are removed by the city.

Last Edited: November 17, 2021