Boulevard Tree Pruning


The Forestry Division prunes the street trees on a rotational basis. It is sometimes necessary for homeowners to prune the trees adjacent to their property between the rotation pruning conducted by the Forestry Division. A Pruning Permit is required before pruning boulevard trees.  There is no charge for the permit.  The Forestry Division will provide information on how to properly prune trees without causing them damage or injury.  To request a permit, call the Forestry office at 701-355-1700 or fill out the online request form.

Boulevard Trees are identified as those growing in the City rights of way area behind the curb. Street trees belong to the City of Bismarck and are tended by the adjacent property owners. The Forestry Division maintains a computer inventory of the street trees which includes a history of the work performed on each tree. A permit system is used to grant property owners permission to prune, remove, or plant trees within City rights of way.


  • Provide 10 feet of clearance over sidewalks.
  • Provide 13.5 feet of clearance over the curb/street on residential streets.
  • Provide 16 feet of clearance over the curb/street on main arterial streets.
  • Provide site clearance for all traffic control signs and devices.
  • Provide for site distances at intersections.
  • Provide unobstructed illumination of street lights at a 45 degree angle from the head of the light onto the street.
  • Remove all dead, diseased, broken and rubbing branches 1 inch in diameter or larger.
  • Maintain the natural appearance and form of the tree.
  • Improve the structural strength of the tree.
  • Eliminate sharp "V" crotches to prevent branch failure.


  • Tree Topping, or Dehorning, is strictly prohibited by the Bismarck Forestry Division Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice. (Topping is detrimental to the health and structural integrity of the tree.)
  • Maintain wide angle crotches whenever possible - they provide a stronger attachment.
  • Maintain the central leader.
  • Maintain a balance of trunk to crown ratio of 1/3 trunk to 2/3 crown if possible.
  • Do not remove more than 1/3 of the crown at any one time.
  • Check out the NDSU Extension publication, Basic Guidelines for Pruning Trees and Shrubs.