City’s trees getting winter haircutWORTHINGTON — Given the snow is disappearing this week rather than accumulating, it may not seem like the first day of winter is one week from today.
By: Ryan McGaughey, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Given the snow is disappearing this week rather than accumulating, it may not seem like the first day of winter is one week from today.
The cold — and snowy — season is indeed almost upon us, and that’s the time the city of Worthington does a majority of its tree-trimming work for the year. City staff began pruning work earlier this month, and City Forester Scott Rosenberg said the December weather has been a blessing thus far.
“As time permits, most of our pruning on the boulevards is done in the winter due to available personnel,” Rosenberg said Wednesday. “That’s a job during the months of the winter when other projects can’t be completed. This year, without having the early snowfall, we’ve gotten a big jump on the early trimming compared to most years. This time of year, we’re usually in snow removal.”
Trimming is currently taking place in Worthington’s Homewood Hills neighborhood, which will be followed by the Lake Avenue and Ninth Avenue areas, Rosenberg said. Staff will move into Okabena Heights, as well as the Ninth Street and Lake Street areas, as weather permits.
“The areas that we’re currently trimming haven’t been trimmed since 2002,” Rosenberg said.
There are several reasons for trimming trees “as high as we do” around town, explained Rosenberg. Many of them pertain to safety.
“We’re trying to create safe roadways and sidewalks for vehicular and pedestrian traffic,” he said. “We need to trim the branches that hang low off the trees because they can block views of intersections, driveways, street signs and maintenance equipment such as snowplows and street sweeps — they need clearance to the curb to be able to function.”
Garbage trucks are top-loaded and require more clearance, added Rosenberg, and school buses, homeowners’ campers and larger vehicles can also be obscured by low-hanging branches.
Trimming is also done to help reduce the potential for removal in the future, he said.
“We eliminate weak points in the trees such as bad branch unions, cracks or rot,” Rosenberg stated. “A wind or ice event could split the tree, creating the need for removal.
“We also trim them to shape the trees, limiting the numbers of large branches to be removed at a later date,” he continued. “This is why it’s so important that we trim and shape the smaller saplings — to prevent pruning of larger limbs at a later date.”
According to city ordinance, boulevard trees are the obligation of the city to maintain, and only very small branches can be pruned by homeowners. Trees on private property are the obligation of that property’s owner. The city does give notices to property owners who have elm trees that have died from Dutch Elm Disease; the owner then has to remove the tree at his or her own expense.
As for the boulevard trees, however, the city’s Public Works Department maintains a schedule for trimming to ensure the same areas don’t get attention each year. There are no specific rules for trimming as far as how high to proceed, Rosenberg noted.
“We don’t have anything that specifically says, ‘trim to X number of feet high,’” he said. “Each variety of tree gets shaped a little differently. For instance, a silver maple is going to be pruned up higher than a Norway maple is. … The smaller size classes don’t grow as high.”