City implements grid-style system for tree trimming
by BRIAN NADIG
The city Bureau of Forestry is implementing a new grid-style system for tree trimming that is intended to do away with 311 requests for non-emergency tree trimming along the parkway.
Those requests often took around 18 months to be fulfilled, according to area aldermen.
“It’s one of the most frequent requests we have,” Alderman James Gardiner (45th) said.
Under the old system a crew would come out to a neighborhood and only trim the trees at addresses on the list given to it, even though other nearby neighbors had pending requests, Gardiner said. He added that a common complaint he’d receive is “You just did my neighbor’s, why can’t you do mine.”
Gardiner said that his ward office has purchased tree-trimming equipment so that his “Gardiner’s Angels” volunteer team can go out and trim low-hanging branches when requested by the homeowner, but many requests need to be completed by a precessional crew. “I can’t go out and buy a $200,000 truck with a lift,” he said.
Under the new system, the forestry bureau has created an “area trimming” system in which two or three crews will be working on a particular day in a 16-block radius, trimming all the trees in that designated area, according to 39th Ward Alderman Samantha Nugent’s office. The 39th Ward has been divided into 28 sections.
The bureau believes that with the proper maintenance of the trees, crews should not have to return for another five years, according to Nugent’s office. The bureau estimates it will take 5 to 7 years to trim all 550,000 tree the city is responsible for.
A Nugent spokesperson said that while there is no longer a service request available for tree trimming in the 311 system, the ward office should be contacted for emergency tree trims, such as falling tree limbs.
Nugent said at a recent community event that 90 percent of the 19,000 service requests made last year in the 39th Ward have been cleared up and that 64 percent of those still pending were for tree trims.
“I’ve been working with the city’s Forestry Department for several years to address the backlog of tree trims. In both the 2022 and 2023 City Budget, I advocated for more funding to hire additional tree trimmers. I am hopeful that moving to this grid-based system will provide the appropriate maintenance to our tree canopy,” Nugent said this week.