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Pruning Definitions and Standards

All tree maintenance performed by the City of Madison Forestry Section is authorized under Wisconsin State Statute 27.09(3) and Madison General Ordinances 10.10(1), 27.05(F), and 28.04(12)(E).

Pruning, removal, and replanting of city trees on the terrace is completed at no additional cost to property owners. For more information regarding initial/first-time planting assessments, please see our FAQs.

All Tree Pruning

All trees in a forestry tree district will be pruned.

If a tree encountered during these operations is deemed hazardous or showing significant signs of decline, it will be removed. The stump information will be recorded for later removal. Please note that it may be several months before a stump is removed depending on the time of year and staff availability.

If a terrace tree needs to be removed, the property owner adjacent to the terrace will be notified via door tag. The exception to this is if a tree is considered an emergency, i.e. split, severely damaged, or otherwise posing an immediate and substantial threat to public safety.

Small Tree Pruning Cycle

This cycle tends to trees that can be pruned from the ground, typically with a smaller, 2-person crew.

Newly planted trees (planted within the last 9 years) often have low branches that may make them appear well-proportioned when young, but these branches, often called temporary branches, are seldom appropriate for large-growing trees in an urban environment.

Although temporary branches contribute to the development of a sturdy, well-tapered trunk and also help protect the trunk from sun and mechanical injury, they should be kept short enough that they do not obstruct or compete with selected permanent branches. Furthermore, properly pruned young trees will need less corrective pruning as they mature.

For more information on pruning techniques and practices (as well as general tree information and care tips), please see the International Society of Arboriculture's tree pruning guide.

Current Pruning Operations

View Pruning Schedule

See where All Tree and Small Tree pruning is taking place. Please note that tree pruning is a very slow process. It may be several weeks before an areas shaded on the map has been completed.