Last week’s blizzard that blanketed Denver with 7.1 inches of snow helped bring the city to its first drought-free state in over a year, but the city’s overwhelming snow removal practices and the uprooting of trees in the area caused it to fall. It also attracted attention that it is easy to lose Not to mention that no one seems to know what to do with all the pieces of wood littering city streets and sidewalks early in the season when the snow is heavier than usual.
David Boswell, general manager of Ross Tree Company, a local tree management company, said Mother’s Day in May is usually a time of heavy, wet snow, which has highlighted this recent storm. says that “Normally, this is our off season, but we are seeing an increase in tree ratings and fallen trees on homes, cars and roadways,” he said.
But who cleans up this mess? It turns out that residents are not only responsible for fallen trees and branches on their property, they also have to clean up and remove fallen trees from sidewalks and public roads adjacent to their property. Did. In other words, just because a branch fell in your parking space in the street in front of your house instead of in your yard doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
“If it’s on a right-of-way adjacent to your property, you’ll have to remove it,” Denver Parks & Recreation spokesman Holly Batchelder said. “That means you either dismantle it yourself or hire a tree company to do it for you.”
If landowners don’t clean up the felled trees, the city will eventually dispose of it, and landowners will have to pay for it, Batchelder said. “If there’s a tree that’s fallen near you and it’s on someone else’s property or on the street or public road, call 311 and someone can assess the situation,” she adds.
How much will it cost? It all depends on the size of the job, when the city has to respond (weekends and after-hours work are more expensive), and what kind of equipment you need. The City estimates tree debris cleaning costs to range from $300 to $1,500, but reduces that by offering a 12-month right-of-way payment plan that is billed to landowners. Batchelder says they are trying to mitigate some of the costs.
Since last week’s storms, city forestry officials have responded to calls to 311 regarding trees in public access areas by mapping reported locations and driving by street to assess damage. “In some cases, we were able to break down the tree or move it to a location that didn’t block access, but in other cases we couldn’t remove the branch at the time,” Batchelder says. You can see it on the map by color-coding the locations that need to be revisited to pick up debris, or where it was picked up, based on the .On the map, there are icons that indicate fallen trees and branches Ultimately, all these points on the map will be processed and turned green.”
She adds that it’s difficult to predict how long it will take for all the fallen trees to be cleared, but maps show the process is well underway. And with City Forester’s offices currently understaffed, Batchelder hopes people will be patient, especially considering how many trees have been damaged in the storm. says there is.
“But if you find that a tree has fallen and the location is not shown on the map, call 311 to add the dot and trigger a response from the city,” she says. . If the debris is adjacent to private property on a street, sidewalk, or public road, the city will remove it and charge the owner. “Not everyone realizes that street trees are regulated by the city’s forester in Denver, but maintaining street trees is a shared responsibility of the owners adjacent to the trees,” said Batchelder. explains Mr.
Another option is to hire a tree company to do the heavy lifting. For example, the Ross Tree Company cuts trees on site when possible or transports them to the property for storage until the trees can be cut. We work with Renewable Fiber, a landscaping company, to recycle these chips, sell them in landscape stores, turn them into compost, or take them to where they can be burned for fuel.
According to Boswell, the tree removal industry is very busy right now, with many companies booking four to eight weeks in advance. Removing a branch before it falls off a tree costs about $175, Boswell says, but that price can easily triple or quadruple, especially if the branch needs to be removed in bad weather or dangerous conditions. It could double.
If you want to scatter it yourself, cut the branches into small pieces no more than 4 inches in diameter and no more than 4 feet long, group them into bundles weighing no more than 50 pounds, and then leave those branches in the larger branches. item pickup. To keep your branches out of landfills, you can drop them off at the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off Center, located near East Cherry Creek Drive South and South Quebec Street. The center is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM.
Composting customers can collect the previously disassembled branches directly into the compost bin.
Additionally, through the end of January, the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is running its annual Treecycle program. The program offers expanded locations for returning used Christmas trees on weekdays and more locations on weekends. Trees should not be fully decorated. In addition, since Christmas trees are also collected when collecting large items, there is no need for normal trimming or bundling work.
However, this year the ‘Recycle’ part of ‘Treecycle’ only applies to trees that are brought into the delivery point. Previously, all trees collected as part of the Treecycle were turned into mulch and provided to Denver residents in the Spring Mulch Giveaway. As of 2023, trees excluded as part of large-item pickups will no longer be composted or mulched, but according to DOTI marketing and communications manager Nancy Kuhn, The city also totally accepts storm-thrown branches, as well as Treecycle drop-off sites.
Previously, the division did not offer large item pickups in January, with the exception of tree collection by Treecycle. Currently, trees are sent to landfills in bulk with other large items. The change follows the division’s transition from offering oversize pickups every eight weeks to offering them monthly starting in February 2022 after customers and the Denver City Council reported increased demand for oversize pickups. I was spurred by this.
Boswell also recommends calling arborists to check trees for structural or other problems that can be addressed before another blizzard hits, and looking for companies like him that offer free estimates. I recommend it to people. “In some ways, it’s like dentistry,” he says, Boswell. “I want to clean frequently”
No need to wait until spring. In fact, winter is often the best time to observe trees.
“For arborists, we love to get out and see trees at this time of year,” adds Boswell. “You can’t always plan everything, especially when it comes to weather changes, but it’s good to try to mitigate before things happen. The most important thing is to be proactive.”