Tree maintenance, like pruning and trimming, play an important role in the healthy growth of trees, including street trees. While trimming can at times appear dramatic, it is a beneficial practice that will ensure the health of our City’s urban forest for years to come.
The Shaker Heights Forestry Department performs several different types of tree pruning/trimming, ranging from Young Tree Training, to pruning storm damaged or obstructing limbs, to full tree trimming.
Young Tree Training
Young Tree Training develops the structure of the tree to ensure healthy growth. This training involves trimming young trees (typically 2-3 years old) to creating a central leader (trunk) in the tree, pruning crossing or weakly attached limbs, and removing low limbs that grow over the road or sidewalk. Young Tree Training typically involves trees from two to eight inches in diameter.
Pruning Storm Damaged & Obstructing Limbs
Another important maintenance activity involves pruning out storm damaged limbs, which are typically broken, and removing low limbs that may be obstructing objects such as a traffic sign or traffic signal. This is considered a minimal form of pruning. Other types of minimal pruning include removing low hanging limbs impeding a roadway or sidewalk.
Partial Tree Trimming
The next type of tree trimming involves a partial trim of the entire tree. This work includes pruning dead wood or hazardous limbs from the tree. This work is not a complete trim, but a general maintenance prune of the tree.
In general, minimal and partial pruning is done during the summer months.
Complete Tree Trimming
Complete Tree Trimming means pruning the entire tree. This pruning is typically completed during the winter months, while crews are available and not busy with warm-weather tasks.
Typically City crews will perform Complete Tree Trimming on a street scheduled for infrastructure improvements, including repaving. This ensures those trees will not be damaged by the heavy equipment required for infrastructure improvements. Please note that a 14 foot overhead clearance for a roadway is a standard height for large trucks (see photo).
Complete Tree Trimming involves:
- Raising up low hanging limbs 14 to 16 feet over the roadway and 8 to 10 feet over the sidewalk.
- Removing obstructing limbs from street lights and traffic control devices.
- Removing dead and weak limbs from the tree’s canopy.
All pruning work performed by the Forestry crews follow industry standards and best practices. Crews are supervised by either the City’s Forester or the Labor Crew Leader, both ISA Certified Arborists.
Electric Line Clearance Pruning
Pruning along electric lines, whether on the street or in residential backyards, is managed by First Energy as part of its line clearance program. This program is mandated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in order to maintain transmission lines and help prevent outages from downed limbs and trees. First Energy selects and oversees the contractors for this line clearance work. Residents whose properties are scheduled for line clearance pruning will receive a door hanger from First Energy before the work starts. Residents with questions or concerns about line clearance work should contact First Energy’s Customer Service line at 1-800-589-3101.
Read "Caring for Our Urban Forest," a feature about how the City cares for its tens of thousands of street trees, in the spring 2022 issue of Shaker Life.