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The forestry division has established a pruning cycle for street trees. Regular maintenance (like branches growing too low over the street, sidewalk, or driveway) that may be necessary between pruning rotations is the responsibility of the property owner.NOTE: A pruning/removal permit must be obtained from the forestry division before performing work on street trees. Permits are available at NO COST to the property owner.
No person may remove a tree from the boulevard for the purpose of construction, or for any other reason, without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the city forester. Protecting and preserving our tree canopy is priority; particularly when it comes to mature trees. Mature trees take a lifetime to grow and are not permitted to be removed unnecessarily. Replacement of a removed tree is required in accordance with the adopted arboricultural specifications and standards of practice. The replacements shall meet the standards of size, species and replacement as provided for in the permit issued by the city forester. The cost of removal and replacement shall be borne by the property owner.
Location: The location for planting individual trees along the street right-of-way is selected by the forestry staff to ensure that the tree(s) will not interfere with water lines, utility lines, traffic signals, site-distance at intersections and other trees.
Species: Only species approved by the city forester may be planted along the street right-of-way. Only those trees listed on an individual permit may be planted at a given site. The forester considers the space available along with other factors such as proximity to neighboring trees and overhead wires to recommend trees that are best suited for each site. This will avoid problems with a tree species being planted that is too large or unsuited for the available space.
The intrusion of tree roots into sewer lines is seldom the fault of the tree and indicates cracks and leaks in the lines themselves. Roots grow where conditions allow, defects in the line can release oxygen and moisture that the roots will find, but the roots themselves do not break pipes. When roots are found to be growing pipes seasonal treatment with a root-inhibiting compound such as copper sulfate can help reduce or resolve the problem. In some case the pipes may need to be professionally cleaned.
The best solution is to repair or replace the defective sewer line. Repeated blockage indicates that the line is collapsed or badly damaged. Many plumbers or sewer cleaning services have cameras that can inspect the line to determine the nature and extent of the problem. This can be a great assistance in planning the most cost effective repairs to the service line.
Tree roots can damage sidewalks or other physical infrastructure if not planted in an adequate space. If your sidewalk has started to lift, short term solutions include applying an asphalt patch or grinding down the raised portion to smooth out any tripping hazards. Another solution is to replace the damaged portion of the sidewalk; the City Engineering Department (701-355-1505) must be contacted for more information on requirements for sidewalk replacement.
If sidewalk replacement does take place, Forestry staff will inspect the roots of the tree when the defective concrete has been removed and work with the contractor to determine a solution. There are many options to work around the tree and in most cases the tree will not require removal.
We now know that, dollar for dollar, large-stature trees deliver big savings and other benefits we can’t ignore. Small-stature trees like crabapple deliver far fewer benefits. In fact, research at The Center for Urban Forest Research shows that their benefits are up to eight times less. Compared to a small-stature tree, a strategically located large-stature tree has a bigger impact on conserving energy, mitigating an urban heat island, and cooling a parking lot. They do more to reduce stormwater run off; extend the life of streets; improve local air, soil and water quality; reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide; provide wildlife habitat; increase property values; enhance the attractiveness of a community; and promote human health and well being. And when we use large stature trees, the bottom-line benefits are multiplied. When it comes to trees, size really does matter. Read on for the full publication “The Large Tree Argument” from the US Forest Service.
Trees improve our quality of life by improving air and water quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and reducing traffic speeds. Trees add value to your home, foster a sense of community, provide shade to help cool your home, and reduce heating costs by providing a windbreak for your home. Studies have shown trees and greenspace contribute to better mental and general health. For more information, read ISA publications, Benefits of Trees and Tree Values.
Be a good neighbor and try first to work with your neighbor to resolve the problem. You do have the right to prune branches and limbs back to your property line as long as you don’t harm the tree. You may not go onto the neighbor’s property or deliberately destroy the tree. Trees are property of the homeowner and if you harm or kill the tree, you could be found liable for property damage.
All established trees shall be pruned to sufficient height to allow free passage of pedestrians and vehicular traffic. A clear height of ten (10) feet over sidewalks and thirteen and one-half (13½) feet over streets shall be maintained, except those streets that are subject to truck traffic which shall have a clearance of sixteen (16) feet.
Commercial arborists working in Bismarck must first pass an arboricultural exam conducted by the City Forester to satisfactorily demonstrate a reasonable level of competence in the field of arboriculture or have valid arborist certification through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The company must also provide proof of the required level of liability insurance and maintain that coverage for the duration of time they hold the license. These requirements ensure that the company is professional, adheres to the latest standards, and is insured to protect the consumer. Click here for more information on licensing requirements.
The Forestry Division maintains a list of currently licensed Bismarck arborists. Click here to access that list.