Street Tree Care and Maintenance Guide

Lake Forest Lot Owners Association Street Tree Care and Maintenance Guide

Lake Forest is a Planned Unit Development. As such Pittsfield Township has specific requirements for certain features and characteristics of our neighborhood. Our street trees fall under those regulations. The drawings for our development have specific locations for each street tree in our neighborhood. While the Township specifies their location, minimum size and certain pruning requirements- the homeowner is responsible for their care and maintenance. For that reason, street tree requirements were written into the deed restrictions and covenants associated with your property. The lot owners association- and more specifically the AEC- are responsible for enforcing those covenants.

For a very detailed source of information on the planting and maintenance of trees go to the following website: http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/pruning.shtml

PLANTING

Should you need to replace a dead or damaged street tree an effort should be made to place it as close to its original position as possible. It is also important to select a tree appropriate for the location. The Grounds and Parks Committee has developed a list of trees appropriate for our area that they have had good luck with in the common areas. (See list below.) If you suspect a street tree is missing the AEC can provide information on the quantity and location of street trees required for your property. In general there is one tree per lot on the cul-de-sacs, two trees per lot on the through streets and four trees on corner lots. Spring and Fall are the best times to plant trees. When planting keep the following things in mind:

Watering: Proper watering is the most important phase of post-planting care. Water should be applied slowly over a period of several hours so that the tree roots are completely soaked.

Water should be applied weekly during dry weather and once every two (2) weeks during a period of normal rainfall.

Trees should enter the winter dormant period in a moist, but not saturated, condition.

Tree Wrapping: Wrapping the trunks of newly planted trees is not generally required. Recent studies by arborists show little or no benefit from tree wrap. In some cases, it has been shown to do more harm than good.

Staking: Normally staking is not required. However, if the tree is staked it is critical that the wires be removed after the tree is established and before they damage the tree or restrict its growth.

Fertilizing: Fertilizing isn’t necessary until the tree has begun to grow (usually two or three years after planting).Wait until new growth at the end of the twigs reach 6" to 8".

Weed Controls: Herbicides presently being used are very effective for the purpose intended, however they also take their toll on newly planted trees. Follow the directions on the labels of all toxic chemicals and use extreme caution when spraying near trees.

"Lawn Mower Blight": One of the biggest killers of newly planted trees is mechanical damage from lawn mowers and string trimmers. When the bark is damaged around the trunk of the tree, the vAECular system of the tree no longer conducts water and nutrients, and the tree dies. Please use care when cutting grass around your new tree. The area around this tree may be mulched with wood chips to help reduce this potential problem.

Recommended Trees

Hybrid Elm 
Hackberry 
Swamp Oak 
Tulip Tree 
Ginko (Male only) 
Japanese Zelkova 
Linden
Honey Locust (thornless) 
Sweetgum 
American Hornbeam 
Sycamore
Maple* 
Ornamental Pear*

*These do well, but are already plentiful.

PRUNING

Proper pruning is an essential part of maintaining your street trees. Please keep the following advantages to pruning when caring for your trees:

  • It opens up sidewalks for pedestrians, clears branches from traffic signs, and allows motorists a clear view of intersections.
  • It provides clearance for buses, garbage trucks, moving vans and other large vehicles that can damage the branches of trees.
  • In some cases, removing lower branches increases night time security because street lights can cover a larger area.
  • It removes dead wood, crossed, split, hollow, and storm damaged limbs, shattered wood and sprout growth from the trees. This opens the crown of the tree and reduces the number of competing limbs.
  • Low limbs do not rise higher as a tree gets older; instead they bend lower toward the ground as the tree matures. Branches may grow 16 to 28 inches a year depending on the weather and the type of tree.
  • Low limbs that will become a problem because of their location should be removed when trees are young. Remember that the appearance of a newly pruned tree is temporary and becomes less dramatic with each passing season and each subsequent trimming.
  • During large wind storms, well trimmed trees are less likely to cause damage and, afterward, they sustain less damage. Proper pruning gives strength to the branches and allows wind to pass harmlessly through the thinned crown.
  • Some types of trees cast a dense shadow. Trimming them allows sunlight to penetrate to lawns and shrubbery.
  • Trees lining our streets and shading our sidewalks must be pruned much differently than trees standing in our parks or a homeowner's lawn. Pruning methods should reflect the street tree's specialized purpose and growing environment.
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