Don’t Pay Someone to Destroy your Trees Hiring Licensed Tree Care Professionals

Incorrect Tree ToppingTrees planted, grown, and properly maintained within the landscapes of Grand Junction are an investment that pays back to the entire Grand Valley. Tree benefits increase as trees grow larger by providing more cooling shade, captured storm water, and filtered air population. The aesthetic beauty of large healthy shade trees attracts people to businesses, increases the time people like to spend shopping in an area, and increases the property value around them. The proper care of trees in our landscapes is key to protecting these investments and hiring the wrong person to maintain them can lead to the destruction of their long-term potential. In the interest of protecting the good health of trees, the City of Grand Junction requires individuals engaging in tree work to obtain a license through the City Forester and City Forestry Board.

According to Grand Junction city code, no person shall engage in the business of pruning or removing trees without first obtaining an annual license from the council appointed Forestry Board. The Forestry Board and City Forester have the responsibility to develop testing procedures for applicants to ensure unskilled individuals are not being paid to destroy the invested value of trees. The Grand Junction Parks and Recreation webpage provides residents with a list of licensed professional arborists to help connect people with the best local companies. With all this in place, the City Forester and Forestry Board have been surprised by the recent increase in substandard tree work in the Grand Valley.

At the January Forestry Board meeting, the City Forester and members of the board covered an agenda item around “tree topping” and bad tree work on private commercial property in various locations across the city. The board encouraged the City Forester to find a way to get the word out to residents to protect them from hiring a company that could end up destroying their tree.

Tree topping is the indiscriminate cutting of branches to create a much shorter and rounded-over canopy of stubbed branches leaving a final product that looks more like a hat rack than a tree. This type of shade tree cutting is most often performed to reduce the height of a tree to increase visibility of signage or views, and at times is requested due to a fear that large trees are dangerous. While tree topping makes trees shorter, it does not solve the desired outcome. Stub-cut tree limbs allow decay to easily enter tree branches leading to long-term hazardous conditions in trees, and the natural response of the tree is to produce numerous poorly attached small branches that grow up quickly further limiting visibility. Shade trees that have been topped have very little chance of being repaired, and it eliminates the ability of a tree to develop into a high-quality asset to a property.

While the City Forester encourages residents and business owners to take advantage of winter as a great time to hire a company to maintain private property trees, he also cautions everyone to ensure they’re hiring professional arborist to care for their trees. If you see what appears to be unskilled tree work happening in the city, take a picture and contact the City Forester.


For more information, please contact:
Primary: Rob Davis, Grand Junction City Forester, robd@gjcity.org or 970-254-3825
Secondary: Kamie Long, Forestry Board, kamie.long@colostate.edu or 970-248-7325

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