Healthy Trees with Tim Bull, City Forester

Categories: Parks & Forestry

The natural resources within our city require regular maintenance for our citizens to enjoy. Part of the Department of Public Works – Forestry Division's responsibility is to maintain over 20,000 street-side trees through planting, pruning, removing, and stump grinding. Each newly planted tree undergoes "training pruning" during the first 5-10 years to maintain the tree's health and prevent improper growth into streetlights or nearby buildings. Each tree is put on a regular maintenance prune cycle after ten years old to remove dead and dangerous limbs. Hazardous trees are entirely removed, and their stumps are ground out and replaced with topsoil or a new tree.

When storms or insects (e.g., emerald ash borer) damage or kill healthy trees, we must prioritize removing them. City Ordinance prohibits residents from pruning and cutting street trees. This ordinance prevents improper pruning and protects citizens from the hazards of having to do tree work themselves. However, the Forestry crew could use residents' help to maintain some street trees by sucker pruning.

Sucker pruning involves pruning off the suckers growing on the tree. Suckers are small branches or sprouts that extend from the ground around the tree's base or grow directly out of the tree's main stem. They grow back year after year and many times interfere with roads and sidewalks.

Identify Suckers on Tree

Here is Tim Bull, the City Forester, demonstrating what sucker pruning looks like and some proper tools to use when doing so.

Cut Suckers Close to the Tree

Prune off at the base of the suckers and cut as close to the tree as possible without damaging the main trunk of the tree.

Prune Suckers Monthly

Suckers can be easily cut off with a hand pruner, or small hand saw, and if regularly maintained (about once a month), they will be tiny and even simpler to remove.

Dispose of Pruned Suckers

Any branches and leaves collected from the pruning process are accepted at the Sheboygan Recycling Center on New Jersey Avenue.

If you have any questions about street pruning, contact the City of Sheboygan Public Works. Thank you for teaming up with the DPW!

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