Helpful tips for tree maintenance during the winter season

Published on November 21, 2022

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As California enters the rainy and storm season, it is important to conduct regular tree maintenance to reduce the amount of fallen limbs and tree debris. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Inspect the crown, trunk and roots of the tree. Look for issues of concern such as broken branches, cracks in the trunk, soil heaving and recently exposed roots, signs of decay and heavy leans.
  • Work with an insured, licensed, and International Society of Arboriculture certified tree care company.
  • Pruning should focus on reducing the weight and extension of branches over structures and other targets. Dead, dying, diseased, and dysfunctional branches should also be removed. Dense tree crowns should be thinned out only enough to allow wind pass through, but not overly-thinned as this weakens the tree and leaves it more prone to storm damage.
  • Avoid lions-tailing, which results in heavy foliage growth at the end of long branches. These branches are more prone to breakage during windy weather.
  • Avoid topping trees. New growth following topping is poorly attached and susceptible to breakage.
  • Do not remove more than 25% of the tree canopy when pruning.
  • If it is determined that tree removal is necessary, then a heritage tree removal permit application may be required.

To report fallen tree limbs, residents may use the Act Menlo Park app to report and track service requests, such as fallen tree limbs. If the city tree failure occurs outside of normal work hours and needs immediate attention, residents may call Police dispatch at 650-330-6300. Visit the Street Tree webpage for more information.

The City’s efforts are separate from PG&E tree maintenance work near power lines. If you see work being done in Menlo Park by Mowbray’s Tree Service or other contractors, it is typically at the direction of PG&E or private individuals.

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