Tiffin Parks & Recreation
Subject: PARK TREE MANAGEMENT POLICY
Approved: Department: Park & Recreation & Shade Tree Commission Page 1 of 5
PURPOSE: To maintain, preserve, and enhance the trees within parks. To increase the overall tree health and longevity within parks and to ensure that park trees are managed in a consistent manner.
The Tiffin park system’s 200 + acres contain more than several thousand trees, many of enormous value. Park trees, including those in natural areas of a park, clean the air, reduce storm run off, modify temperatures, and provide wildlife habitat as well as other benefits to citizens and park users. Aesthetically, trees lend form and structure to a park setting. Table A shows the classifications of landscapes in the park system and the differing objectives as well as maintenance rationales for tree care:
Formal park areas Require more frequent maintenance than those in natural areasIncreased risk of physical damage because of greater likelihood of tree/people interactionSuffer greater incidence of mechanical injury
Demand greater restrictions on design considerations
Informal (natural) areas Get grouped together as woods or forest, rather than being a single treeExperience greater impacts from competing invasive, exotic plant speciesMany trees on the forested edge of natural areas abut private property and therefore have increased risk potential
Often are not managed due to the assumption that nature will take its course
Walkways andPaved recreational trails Require greater frequency of maintenance than in parks and natural areas because of proximity to people and property as well as harsh growing conditionsMore likely to suffer from restricted root space, mechanical injury, and other people related pressuresManagement directly impacts adjacent property owners
II. Policy and Practice
1.0 DETERRENCE OF PHYSICAL DAMAGE TO TREES
1.1 A good faith effort will be made to deter overall tree loss due to physical damage from mowing equipment and string trimmers with the following actions:
1.1.1 The practice of removing turf from around the tree base to create tree rings 3 to 4 feet in diameter will be used on new trees planted in parks. With tree rings, a mower or trimmer never has to come close enough to the tree to cause damage. The tree ring must be kept free of grass and weeds.
1.1.2 All seasonal park maintenance staff will receive training on basic tree care and tree hazard identification.
1.1.3 Whenever possible and where groups are interested, current trees in parks will be mulched to create a 2 – 3 foot ring, by volunteers during community service projects or by members of the Shade Tree Commission during a scheduled monthly meeting or by special arrangement.
1.2 A good faith effort will be made to consider options for changing park use patterns that are damaging trees. Example: cars parking on tree lawns may be subject to an education and/or enforcement campaign to reverse the damage to tree roots.
1.3 Topping of park trees will not be permitted because “topping” of trees can cause permanent damage by promoting decay, as well as unnatural, dense and weak branching structure. Topping will only be permitted under special circumstances as approved by the City Forester and Director of Park and Recreation.
1.4 Whenever possible, action will be taken to investigate and prosecute vandalism and illegal cutting of park trees. Compensation for damages will be sought based on the fair market value of a recently planted tree, including labor costs, or the ISA Guide for Plant…….etc
2.0 HAZARDOUS TREE MANAGEMENT STANDARDS AND PRACTICES
2.1 The Department will assess and manage the risk of tree failure in the parks within the limits of available fiscal and human resources. Priority shall be given to locations with high probability of failure and where high potential damage or injury may result.
2.2 Visible defects that will be considered in hazard evaluation include, but will not be limited to, cracks in limbs and/or trunk, seams in limbs and/or trunks, spiral cracks in limbs and/or trunks, rib cracks, weak branch unions (V crotches), decay in limbs and/or trunk, cankers in limbs and/or trunk, deadwood, root problems, and in landscaped areas, poor tree architecture (form).
2.3 For determination of hazard rating, the Department will utilize the Hazard Tree Assessment Guidelines as developed by the City of Tiffin Public Works Forestry Department.
2.3.1 Trees that rate a high hazard will be considered an imminent risk and will be scheduled for immediate remediation.
2.3.2 Trees that are rated a moderate risk may be reevaluated at a specific interval or scheduled for immediate hazard mitigation.
2.4 Corrective action for high hazard rated trees will be reasonable and prudent and may include:
2.4.1 Correction of the defect-by pruning, cabling, and bracing, or tree removal by City Forester within one week of notification. In the event that the City Forester is unable to remedy the hazardous situation in a timely manner, the Park & Recreation Department may seek a suitable substitute. “Suitable substitute” is a tree care professional with a professional license or certification including but not limited to a Certified Arborist, Registered Consulting Arborist, certified Forester, and Landscape Architect.
2.4.2 In rare cases, moving any at-risk structures, equipment, fixtures or recreational sites may be considered if it will not cause undue hardship on financial and human resources of the Park and Recreation Department.
3. CRITERIA FOR DEPARTMENTAL ACTION
3.1 Trees, shrubs, and vegetation that will be considered for removal will include:
3.1.1 Hazard trees which pose substantial risk to park users, adjacent properties, or park facilities.
3.1.2 Trees, shrubs, and vegetation which are dead, dying, or diseased.
3.1.3 Trees, shrubs, and vegetation which create visibility problems(sight line) near park roadways as well as multi-use recreation paths and may contribute to unsafe conditions to park users will be removed to a point where public safety is insured.
3.1.4 Removal from park areas being improved or developed under an approved design, but with prior consideration to retention given whenever possible.
3.1.5 Trees on sites that were over-planted by design or are crowded from natural competition may be selectively removed with consultation of the City Forester to maintain spacing for optimal growth and function.
3.1.6 Trees that block trails, drainage systems, or otherwise obstruct the use and function of park infrastructure elements.
3.1.7 Trees, shrubs, and vegetation that may interfere with a designated public viewpoint in a park.
3.1.8 Trees in undeveloped park landscapes as part of forest management to create light gaps, snags, or other restorative features.
3.2 Trees, shrubs, and vegetation that will be considered for pruning will include:
3.2.1 Park areas identified as places of illegal or inappropriate activity in order to improve general visibility and increased police surveillance.
3.2.2 Dead, dying, and diseased sections to improve the health and appearance of the tree, and to prevent accidents.
3.2.3 Removal of lower tree limbs to the height of 8 feet for pedestrian and bicycle clearance on recreational and walking paths.
3.2.4 Pruning to maintain designated public viewpoints in parks.
3.2.5 Pruning for crown cleaning, crown thinning, and crown restoration.
3.2.6 Pruning for clearance around security and recreation facility lights.
3.2.7 Generalpark pruning for clearance to prevent injuries and facilitate maintenance.
4.0 PLANTING OF TREES IN PARK SYSTEM
4.1 All proposed planting and replanting of trees in parks must be approved or reviewed by the Director of Park and Recreation or a designated representative of the Park and Recreation Department.
4.1.1 The master plan for each park will be consulted in deciding the location and/or appropriateness of proposed planting and replanting of trees. The Director of Park and Recreation will consult with the City Forester in selection of trees as deemed necessary.
4.2 Trees will only be planted on park property to serve one of the following functions:
4.2.1 Architectural Features: to create privacy, enhance view, or for space articulation
4.2.2 Engineering: to reduce glare, direct pedestrian/bicycle traffic flow, filter air, reduce soil erosion, or attenuate noise
4.2.3 Climatic Influences: transpiration cooling, interception and reflection of solar rays, deflection or channeling of wind patterns, or modification of rain/fog/snow deposition
4.2.4 Aesthetic Uses: form, color, and texture in developed park areas
4.2.5 Ecological: attraction of wildlife
5.0 SELECTION OF TREES PLANTED IN PARK SYSTEM
5.1 Site adaptation will be a factor in the selection of plant species of trees to be planted in the park system. The following factors will be considered:
5.1.1 Rate of Growth and Mature Size: a tree should not outgrow its allotted space
5.1.2 Rooting: Species with invasive roots or surface rooted trees that sucker heavily will not be planted in developed areas of the park system
5.1.3 Pest and Disease Resistance: Due to maintenance constraints, it is desirable to plant only resistant plant material in developed parks
5.1.4 Top and Trunk Characteristics: Height-to-Caliper ratio, crown configuration, and branching pattern will be considered
5.1.5 Plant Hardiness: Trees should be chosen that can withstand local minimum temperatures, and that match soil conditions as well as other environmental features of the site
5.1.6 Quality Stock: Only trees with good root and shoot quality will be planted in developed areas of park system
5.1.7 Reference: City of Tiffin Ordinance
931.16 PLANTING TREES OR SHRUBS ON STREETS; PERMIT; UNDESIRABLE TREES.
(a) No person shall plant any tree or shrub upon any public way, street, alley or City property unless he has first obtained a planting permit in writing from the City Administrator specifying the size, type, species and location on the public way, street, alley or City property of the tree or shrub to be planted.
(b) The Administrator shall have the authority to deny a planting permit to any person applying for such permit to plant upon a public way, street, alley or City property any tree or shrub found by the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission to be undesirable as to size, type or species or for the proposed planting location. The Administrator may also deny a planting permit to any person applying for such permit to plant upon a public way, street, alley or City property any tree or shrub, if the Shade Tree and Beautification Commission determines that the proposed location is not suitable for the planting of trees or shrubs.
(Ord. 92-37. Passed 6-15-92.)
(c) Undesirable trees upon public ways, streets or alleys are as follows:
(1) Box-Elder (Acer Negundo)
(2) Silver Maple (Acer Saccharinum)
(3) Catalpa (Catalpa Speciosa)
(4) Mulberry (Morus Alba)
(5) Poplars, all kinds (Populus)
(6) Black Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia)
(7) Willows, all kinds (Salix)
(8) Chinese Elm (Ulmus Pumila)
(9) Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus Altissima)
(Ord. 74-89. Passed 11-18-74.)
5.2 It will be the responsibility of the City Forester to aid in the selection appropriate plant species on the basis of its functional uses, its adaptation to the chosen site, and the amount of care it will require. Director of Park and Recreation or designated Park and Recreation Department representative will consult with the City Forester on selection of plant species being planted in developed parks.
6.0 PRUNING OF TREES AND TREE PROTECTION
6.1 It will be the responsibility of the City Forester or designated representative to complete all pruning of park trees and shrubs that require climbing and/or use of an aerial bucket truck.
6.2 It will be the responsibility of the City Forester to take actions to protect existing park trees that are at risk for damage from pests or disease.
6.2.1 When possible, parts of park trees affected by disease should be pruned out and properly disposed to stop the spread of disease within the tree and to any susceptible adjacent trees.
ANSI A300-1995 for Tree Care Operations-Tree, Shrub and Other Woody Plant Maintenance-Standards Practices. 1995. American National Standards Institute.
Albers, J., and E. Hayes. 1993. How to Detect, Assess, and Correct Hazard Trees in Recreational Areas. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Publication.
Landscape, Horticulture and Urban Forestry Best Management Practices. 1999. SeattleParks and Recreation.
Nelda P. Matheny and James R. Clark. Evaluation of Hazard Trees in Urban Areas 2nd Edition. International Society of Arboriculture.
Park Tree Management Policy