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Our goal is to maximize the longevity of the urban forest in Fort Collins. Pruning is a critical part of increasing lifespan and is done to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. To promote tree vigor and health;
  2. Improve structure and decrease the risk of limb failure;
  3. To set the height of the lowest permanent branch;
  4. To provide adequate clearance governed by City Code over sidewalks and streets. It is important to begin raising the lower canopy at this stage because branches do not move further away from the ground as a tree gains height.

In most cases, one-third of the tree's canopy will be removed during pruning. City Forestry staff are qualified to correctly structure prune trees and some trees are harder to prune than others. When correct pruning is applied, the aesthetics of the tree is altered in the short term. Trees will be healthier and stronger after the pruning is complete, however, the canopy may look sparse or unproportioned for a growing season or two. 

If the tree(s) health is in serious decline, there are times when tree removal is necessary. Residents will be notified if the tree adjacent to their home is to be removed rather than pruned. Tree stumps will be ground out and replacement trees planted in the future. If you would like a replacement tree, please submit a tree planting request.

When neighborhoods are scheduled for street tree pruning, residents will be pre-notified by mail and social media posts including NextDoor. Also, to minimize impact and inconvenience to residents’, signs will be placed on streets one-day prior to the work occurring. However, for efficiency, crews may also conduct work without signage provided the work zone is clear.   

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at 970.221.6306, or feel free to visit with our crews as they work in your neighborhood. We appreciate your understanding and support as we work through these pruning efforts to promote a healthy urban forest.