The most common tree maintenance procedure within the Town’s Urban Forest is pruning. The reason for pruning is generally to remove dead branches, improve form and to reduce risk. This maintenance is performed on Town trees by or under the direction of a Certified Arborist.
There have been some cases recently where residents have taken it upon themselves to prune a town tree. Without an understanding of tree biology, the species natural shape and tree diseases etc. this could have negative impacts on the health and structure of the tree and in some cases contribute to a shortened life expectancy. Improperly pruned trees can sometimes be restored with several years of corrective pruning, but in some cases it must be removed because of structural instability or unsightliness.
Examples of Improper Pruning
Trees in the forest survive with no pruning but the trees within our urban areas require regular care to maintain structural integrity and enhance their aesthetic contribution to the surrounding landscape.
Objectives for pruning can include the following:
- Reduce the risk of failure by cleaning of dead, diseased and otherwise structurally unsound limbs.
- Provide clearance to stop signs, street lights and other visual obstructions.
- Provide clearance for pedestrians and vehicles.
- Reduce the risk of failure by lessening the length and weight of long, horizontal branches.
- Develop good structure by subordinating branches that are competing with the central leader.
- Restore good structure to trees that were damaged by extreme weather events.
- Maintain health by removing infestations of pests. I.e. Ash bark beetle
Trees do not require annual pruning and because each cut has the potential to alter the growth of the tree no branch should be removed without a reason. Pruning requirements should be identified from the beginning and performed by trained individuals (i.e. Certified Arborist).
The Town of High River Tree Protection Bylaw protects town trees from pruning or removal and has fines set for individuals who damage trees on town property. Fines can range from one hundred to one thousand dollars and in some cases the appraised value of the tree. Appraised values can be as high as $20 000.00 dollars for a large diameter, mature tree.
The Parks Division works diligently throughout the year to ensure that the Town of High River has a healthy and diverse Urban Forest.
Residents are asked to contact the Parks Department if they have concerns regarding a town tree.