How You Can Help

Help Preserve Our Trees
The city's trees are provided and maintained for everyone to enjoy. Here are some ways you can help us keep these trees healthy for generations to come.

Please contact the Parks and Forestry Division at 607-272-1718 when:
  • You think that your tree might need inspecting, i.e., it looks rotted out or there's a precariously hanging branch that looks like it may fall over, or it just doesn't look right
  • You think there are maintenance needs in one of our city's parks
  • A tree has been vandalized
  • A tree is threatening to, or is actually touching your house
Preventing Damage
One of the primary sources of damage to young trees is the careless use of lawn mowers. You can prevent accidental damage by clearing an area 18 inches to 36 inches in diameter around your street tree so your mower will not need to approach too closely. Keep this area free from grass by mulching with wood chips or planting ground cover such as Pachysandra and Myrtle or annual flowers.

Free wood chip mulch (within reason, please) is available from the Department of Public Works headquarters at 245 Pier Road. Please bring your own tools and container.

When it is necessary to use the area around a tree for a walking surface, bricks, paving blocks, or an iron grate should be installed. Removing the weeds that grow up between the cracks won't take much time, but will greatly improve an area's appearance.

During periods of drought, lack of moisture can kill a young tree unless natural rainfall is supplemented by regular watering. Water young trees until the surrounding soil is soaked to a depth of 6 inches. About 4 or 5 gallons of water 2 or 3 times a week during the hot dry season will keep these trees healthy. Do not water trees during period of adequate rain fall. Too much water will damage a tree's root structure.

Green irrigation bags (TreeGators) which hold 20 gallons of water are placed around newly planted trees for 1 season. Parks and Forestry personnel fill them as necessary. Be careful not to hit them with lawn mowers or string trimmers.

All street trees, after they are established, will benefit from occasional fertilizing. Turf competition and paving restrict a tree's access to naturally occurring elements necessary for growth and health. Contact the City Forester for information on what kind and how much fertilizer to use.

Staking & Guy Wires
Young street trees may be staked at planting to protect them and keep them straight. After a year, the guy wires will be removed to prevent wires from girdling the trunk.

You can trim unsightly pencil-thin shoots which originate from the trunk or base of the tree, as well as low tree limbs,with ordinary garden shears in the early summer. Any extensive trimming should be done by the Citizen Pruners or Parks and Forestry staff.

One of the most frequent causes of the loss of street trees is vandalism. Each year, many of our younger trees are needlessly killed by vandals. In order to maintain our valuable natural resource of young trees, we ask your help. If you witness acts of vandalism or abuse of street trees, call the City Forester at 607-272-1718, so that proper care can be provided.