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City Tree Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to trim the City tree in front of my property?

Trees owned by the City may not be trimmed by anyone other than City staff unless a permit is obtained first.  To obtain a permit to have your City tree trimmed by a qualified and insured arborist, contact the Parks Department Tree Maintenance Division at 315-738-0712. The City is not responsible for maintaining trees located on private property.  Trees located on private property whose branches interfere with electrical transmission lines or whose roots interfere with water metering devices may be altered by Niagara Mohawk Power Company or the Mohawk Valley Regional Water Board to remove that portion of the tree that is creating the obstacle.

My neighbor dug up his yard that killed a tree on my side of the property line. Am I entitled to compensation?
Yes.  Anyone who cuts down, removes, or otherwise causes damage to a tree without permission from its owner are responsible for the harm they inflict.

Is it okay to place ground cover, mulch or plants over tree roots?
Mulching or planting within the drip line of any shallow rooted tree should be done with care.  Suffocation may result if roots are unnaturally buried.  Mulching should be done lightly and kept from coming in contact with the bark.  Any ground cover planted around tree roots should be drought tolerant.  Trees growing within a lawn area will be forced to grow shallow roots because of the way they are watered.  The City's right-of-way area must be safe for pedestrians to cross over to the sidewalk.  Residents may plant within the City's right-of-way area, however, the plant material must allow for safe pedestrian access.  Ivy is not an acceptable planting material.

When is the best time of year to prune/trim my trees?
Pruning may be done any time of the year, but some times of year are better than others.  Deciduous trees that flower before the end of May should be pruned right after blooming.  Deciduous trees that flower after May should be pruned between January and March. Prune flowering Cherry trees in late summer, flowering Evergreens in May, and Conifers in autumn.  Remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood as soon as it is discovered.

How do I get a new tree planted on my street?
The City plants new trees every year, replacing dead or diseased trees and planting new ones in areas that do not currently have trees as the budget allows.  To request a new tree planting, contact the Parks Department Tree Maintenance Division at 315-738-0172.

How do I care for the City trees along my property?
City staff waters newly planted trees for the first year of their life.  Afterwards, property owners are expected to water City trees.  In the summer months, a single 30-gallon watering per week is recommended to seep below the surface level to reach the deeper roots.  In the winter months, a single 15-gallon watering per week will be sufficient.   Exercise caution when using string trimmers near root and bark areas to avoid nicking them.  Repeated wounding of the bark and roots by string trimmers may severely damage the trees health. 

What trees are offered for replacement by the city?
Depending on whether or not there are overhead utility wires, residents requesting tree replacement can choose from the following species:

LARGER TREES STREET TREES

Species

Description

Summer / Fall Color

Max Height

Max Spread

Autumn Blaze Maple

Good street, park or lawn tree for tough site conditions. Bright red fall color, fast grower.

Green/Red

50'

40’

Crimson King Maple

Good street, lawn or accent tree with dark maroon leaves.

Purple /Purple

40'

35’

Red Sunset Maple

Good street, lawn or park tree. Bright red fall color.

Green /Red

45'

35’

Kentucky Coffeetree

Good specimen and street tree with a coarse picturesque texture in winter, tolerate alkaline and droughty soil.

Green/ Yellow

45’

35’

Greenspire Linden

Great street tree, uniform head gives formal look.

Green /Yellow

45'

35’


SMALLER TREES FOR UNDER UTILITY WIRES

Species

Description

Summer / Fall Color

Max Height

Max Spread

Prairifire Crab

Great street tree. Bronze/ green leaves with red flowers.

Green/Orange

25’

15’

Cleveland Pear

Good street tree, compact habit, glossy leaves and white flowers.

Green/Red

30’

15’

Accolade Cherry

Deep rose-pink bud, semi-double pink flowers, attractive bark.

Green/Red

20’

25’

Hedge Maple

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun.

Green/Yellow

25’

25’