Pruning Operations

Pruning Definitions and Standards

  • All tree maintenance performed by the City of Madison Forestry Section is authorized under Wisconsin State Statute 27.09(3) and Madison General Ordinances 10.10(1), 27.05(F), and 28.04(12)(E).
  • Pruning, removal, and replanting of city trees is completed at no additional cost to property owners. For more information regarding initial/first-time planting assessments, please see our FAQs.

District Cycle Pruning

  • All trees in a forestry tree district will be pruned.
  • If a tree encountered during these operations is deemed hazardous or showing significant signs of decline, it will be removed. The stump information will then be forwarded by Forestry to the Streets Division for removal. Please note that it may be several months before a stump is removed depending on the time of year and staff availability.
  • If a non-ash tree needs to be removed, the property owner adjacent to the terrace will be notified via door tag. The exception to this is if a tree is considered an emergency, i.e. split, severely damaged, or otherwise posing an immediate and substantial threat to public safety.
  • For ash trees designated for preemptive removal, property owners will not receive any notification aside from the initial preemptive ash removal letter. These letters were distributed to residents when all city ash trees were inspected and designated for either treatment or removal.

Small Tree Pruning Cycle

  • This cycle tends to trees that can be pruned from the ground, typically with a smaller, 2-person crew.
  • Newly planted trees (planted within the last 3-5 years) often have low branches that may make them appear well-proportioned when young, but these branches, often called temporary branches, are seldom appropriate for large-growing trees in an urban environment.
  • Although temporary branches contribute to the development of a sturdy, well-tapered trunk and also help protect the trunk from sun and mechanical injury, they should be kept short enough that they do not obstruct or compete with selected permanent branches. Furthermore, properly pruned young trees will need less corrective pruning as they mature.
  • For more information on pruning techniques and practices (as well as general tree information and care tips), please see the International Society of Arboriculture's tree pruning guide.

Current Pruning Operations

The map below shows where we are currently working (bordered in a solid red line) for routine pruning operations. The map illustrates completed (BLUE) and future areas (YELLOW). Please note that it may be several months before you see us on your street as this work will be continuing through 2017 and 2018 until the entire district has been completed.

Pruning Map