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Loving Your Little Landscape

I have never been a natural gardener. For years, I struggled to keep basic houseplants alive, only to kill them at the first opportunity. It was difficult and stressful to buy a home with a yard, but I knew that I might be able to learn what I was doing wrong and correct the problem. To start off, I focused heavily on the lawn, and tried hard to keep it trimmed and well-maintained. Next, I cleaned up the flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. When I was done, my front yard was gorgeous, and guess what--it even stayed alive. This blog is all about loving your little landscape.

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Loving Your Little Landscape

Landscaping Problems: When The City Decides To Trim YOUR Trees

by Charlotte White

So you got a notice from the city that they going to trim your trees to make way for power lines. What's going on here? How can they just choose to interfere with your landscaping without your approval? And is there anything you can do to protect your trees from excessive trimming? Unfortunately, they have the legal right to trim trees in a certain area of your property, but you can keep your trees from getting too mangled.

Understanding Road Right Of Way

When the city sends you a tree trim notice, they are exercising what is known as the "road right of way." Within city limits, a strip of roadside property, usually 20 feet to either side of the road, is considered "public property" in the sense that items here can be altered to suit the needs of the city.

So when they trim your trees, they are likely eliminating branches that would otherwise have blocked vital areas, such as power line paths. The area they trim may be rather large, especially if power lines are involved. After all, they can't risk having the lines touch your tree and creating a fire or electrocution hazard.

How It Affects Your Trees

The tree trimming the city will perform on your trees has the potential to cause damage to your trees that may irreversibly impair their health. Heavily trimmed (or decapitated) trees are missing a crucial protective layer that balances your trees' health needs. Problems that can occur with decapitated trees include:

  • Exposure of delicate areas of your trees
  • Freer and easier entry for parasites and other pests
  • Easier infections spread
  • Destroyed tree landscaping style and look

It's not that a city tree trimming crew is going to come in and do a purposefully sloppy or excessive job trimming your trees. It's just that they're likely to be busy and unable to spend the time performing careful tree maintenance procedures.

Avoiding This Problem

If you want to avoid excessive trimming by the city on your trees, you have a few options. First of all, you can do the trimming yourself or hire a professional landscaper to manage it for you. While your trimming will have to be approved by the city, there's a good chance you can minimize the damage.

These professionals can also seal the wounds to ensure that infections don't spread down into your trees and kill them. However, you can also get your trees transplanted by a professional landscaper. This process requires a truck that literally removes your tree and situates it in a different area.

Unfortunately, there's no other way to avoid trimming beyond hiring a transplant service. But calling a professional landscaper can help you take control of your own tree trimming and help keep your trees looking healthy for generations to come.

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