Update on City Response to Winter Storm Tree Damage

The winter storm on Sunday, October 25 that inflicted major damage on the urban tree canopy. The City of Grand Junction mobilized crews on Sunday night and has been adding in more resources to address the damage with each day. We recognize that residents may have concerns and questions regarding trees on private property and public rights-of-way, as well as what immediate actions can be taken to address the situation.

City Response Update – Three crews of City employees were added to the response effort today, increasing the number of employees responding directly to the incident from 27 to 36. These additional crews are working to remove downed limbs in the downtown core area, which suffered the most extensive damage given the high percentage of mature trees, and high traffic areas. This effort will address the issue of downed limbs in or near roadways and sidewalks. Residents can also track progress and receive updates on the City’s website. Updates will be provided as they are made available.

As of this morning, about half of the trees in the downtown core area have been responded to by crews. There are four chippers being run along with two grapple trucks, two bucket trucks and three dump trucks. The City is still contracting with private tree services contractors, which began yesterday and will continue until the clean-up is complete. Residents will continue to see crews from the City of Grand Junction, Alpine Tree Service, T4 Tree Service, and Monkey Business LLC responding to the tree damage over the next several days.

Leaf Removal Program – Due to the switch of needs in the community and because leaves in snow cannot be picked up, the City’s Leaf Removal Program was paused and will return on Thursday, October 29. Leaf pickups that were scheduled earlier this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be addressed in the next cycle pick-up in approximately two weeks.

Tips for Dealing with Fallen Tree Limbs – Residents should familiarize themselves with the following tips when it comes to dealing with broken tree limbs at their private residences. These tips can help protect resident’s safety as well as the health of the tree.

  • Check for Hazards If you see a broken tree limb, check your surroundings to see if there are any other tree limbs hanging above. Fallen tree limbs can also hit utility lines. Contact your utility company if a tree is affecting any utility line.
  • Contact the City – Trees in parks and in rights-of-way between sidewalks and property lines are maintained by the City. Please submit a work order online. Trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. For residents with financial needs, Bighorn Tree Service is offering discounted service. Bighorn Tree Service can be reached at (970) 640-5671.
  • Do Not Try to Clean Up by Yourself – If you are unable to clean up fallen branches, contact a licensed tree service for help. There are 21 licensed tree service companies currently operating in Grand Junction. These are all vetted by the City of Grand Junction’s Forestry Board, a volunteer board comprised of tree and plant experts. All companies on this list have the required expertise and insurance to serve private property owners.
  • Knocking Snow Off Branches – Knocking snow can cause branches to break. To help mitigate damage, gently push up on branches from below.
  • Remove Broken Branches – Removing broken branches can help protect the tree from future decay, insects, and disease. Prune the tree where the branch joins a larger branch.
  • Do Not Over-Prune – After tree limbs have fallen, a tree can look uneven. Do not worry, most trees will quickly grow new branches.

For more information about tree care and protection, visit the Colorado State Forest Service website at csfs.colostate.edu.

Contact: Greg LeBlanc, Sr. Assistant to the City Manager 970-244-1557 or gregoryl@gjcity.org

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