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Forestry FAQs

Ash Trees and Emerald Ash Borer

What is the city doing about EAB?

The City of Boulder has been actively managing EAB since 2013. At that time there were over 6,000 public ash trees in Boulder. With the support of City Council, Boulder Forestry's EAB program involves preserving approximately 1,300 public ash trees, removing infested ash trees, increasing tree planting efforts, releasing biocontrols and educating the public.

Has the public ash tree near my house been treated for EAB?

Enter your address on our public ash tree map to find out if you have a public Ash tree near you and if it has been treated. This map shows only publicly owned ash trees.

Can I treat an untreated public ash tree at my own expense?

Yes. However, you must fill out the form below so that Boulder Forestry knows it is being treated. You must hire a contractor who is a “licensed certified arborist” and use an injectable non-neonicotinoid pesticide such as emamectin benzoate or azadirachtin. Use of neonicotinoid pesticides, such as imidacloprid and dinotefuran, are prohibited on public property in the City of Boulder. Common products sold for EAB treatment that contain Imidacloprid include “Bayer Advanced”, “Merit”, and “Safari”. These products must not be used to protect public ash trees.  Licensed Arborists and Tree Contractors  

What is the city’s recommendation for private ash tree treatment?

We recommend you hire a licensed certified arborist to first evaluate your ash trees. If you decide to move forward with treatment, we recommend an injectable non-neonicotinoid pesticide treatment containing either emamectin benzoate or azadirachtin. We encourage homeowners to limit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on private property. All EAB treatments must be reapplied every 1 to 3 years depending upon the product. Holistic, natural or compost tea treatments are not effective against EAB.

Is there a designated place for ash tree wood debris?

Due to the federal and state EAB quarantine, ash logs or any species of hardwood firewood cannot leave Boulder County. You can use the wood at your own home or take the wood to either Western Disposal, Front Range Landfill in Erie (both within the EAB quarantine). For more information on the ash quarantine and proper wood disposal, visit the Colorado Department of Agriculture website .

Tree Planting

Does the city plant trees in the public right-of-way?

Boulder Forestry provides and plants tree in approved public Right of Way locations each spring at no cost to residents. The City works with the resident to select an appropriate tree species and location at each proposed site. In return for this service, residents must agree to adequately water and maintain mulch under the tree.

How far from the street can I plant a private tree?

Your deed should show your property line location and where the public right of way begins. You may also visit the  Planning Department office to speak to a planner in the main lobby. A planner should be able to tell you specifically what the right-of-way distance is at your property. To start, you may also visit the Boulder County Assessor's Office property search .

How do I donate a tree or request a memorial tree be planted in honor of a loved one?

Memorial and Living Legacy trees are planted in city parks in the spring (March 15 – June 1) or in the fall (Sept. 1 - Nov. 1) and the cost is $275/tree. The tree species depends upon location and the city park chosen for planting. Please email Ken Fisher at [email protected] if you would like to request a Memorial or Living Legacy tree.

Does the city provide financial assistance for private property trees?

The City provides trees of various sizes and species through tree giveaways (seedlings) and subsidized tree sales (#5 to #15 containerized trees depending on the event) around Arbor Day each year to assist homeowners in increasing Boulder’s urban canopy. Check our website in March to find out more!

Tree Care

Do I need to water a newly planted public tree?

Yes. Property owners or residents agree to water and maintain mulch on new street trees adjacent to their property as part of the City’s Street Tree Planting Program. Water your new tree at least once per week from May 15 to Sept.15, using about 25 gallons per watering. Water at a slow rate from the end of a hose. You can time how fast it takes to fill a five-gallon bucket and multiply by five to determine how long you should water. Water the same amount once per month from October through April.

A newly planted tree is not doing well. Can someone come and evaluate the tree?

Have you been watering your tree? If not - see above and begin! If you have been watering, your tree could be in "transplant shock." Trees may lose a lot of roots during the transplant process, but most trees fully recover in a relatively short period of time. We are happy to come out and look.

I need to hire a contractor to do some work on my private tree. Who do you recommend?

We recommend you always get bids from at least three companies and ask for references.

Tree Removal

I received a tree removal notice. Which tree is going to be removed?

The tree that is marked with a painted 'X' facing the street.  

I received a public tree removal notice. Can I do anything to save the tree if it's not an ash?

If the tree is not an untreated public ash tree, it has most likely been marked for removal because it is dead, dying or structurally unsound. To learn more about the tree, please call the phone number on the business card attached to the doorhanger you received or call the Boulder Forestry office at 303-441-4406.

I received a public tree removal notice. Can I request a replacement tree?

Yes. Each spring, Boulder Forestry plants replacement trees in the public street rights-of-way. Please request a replacement tree online if your tree is scheduled for removal or has already been removed. Boulder Forestry works with the resident to select an appropriate tree species and location at each proposed site. In return for this service, residents must agree to adequately water and maintain mulch under the tree.

Do I need a permission to remove my private tree?

If it is a private tree, you do not need permission to remove it unless the property is under a development agreement or currently in the city planning permitting process. All companies performing work to either public or private trees must be licensed through the city of Boulder. Boulder Forestry wants to remind residents to only hire only licensed tree care companies to perform work on their trees.

Do I need permission to remove a public tree?

Yes. All public trees are protected by ordinance and cannot be removed without permission from Boulder Forestry. If a public tree is removed without permission, the property owner could be assessed the value of the tree as mitigation. Please submit a request for permission.

My neighbor has a private tree that may fall into to my property. Can you force him/her to remove or prune the tree?

If the tree will impact public property (street, sidewalk, alley, park) if it failed, the answer is yes. Please submit a request. If the tree will only impact private property if it failed, it is a private matter between the two property owners. We do recommend you talk directly to your neighbor about the tree. If this is unsuccessful, contact a private tree care company to have the tree inspected, then send the arborist report to the property owner so they are aware of the situation.

There is a tree in the alley that needs to be pruned or removed. Who do I contact?

Many trees in alleys are on private property. Trees in the alley right-of-way are cared for by Public Works Transportation. Please create a request or call 303-413-7162.

There is a tree along a ditch area that needs to be pruned or removed. Who do I contact?

Generally, the ditch company has only an easement to run water in the ditch and adjoining property (and trees) are private property and the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. 

Pruning

A public tree has low hanging or dead branches. Can we request tree pruning?

To be as efficient as possible, we prefer to prune public street trees during our neighborhood rotational pruning schedule. We will prune trees outside of the rotation if the trees pose a safety concern (generally, deadwood larger than 6” diameter, broken branches, or hanging limbs). Low hanging limbs will be evaluated and pruned as needed. All our work is prioritized however so safety concerns are given priority over clearance issues.

If I don’t want to wait for the scheduled pruning rotation to reach my neighborhood, can I hire contractor to prune a public tree?

Yes, however you must hire a contractor who is a “licensed certified arborist.” The city will not reimburse you for the cost of this work. Any work proposed on a public tree must be approved first by Boulder Forestry. In the request, please clearly indicate the nature of work and contractor you propose to hire.

Broken, hanging or fallen limbs and branches

Who should I call about a broken branch hanging up in a public tree?

Broken, hanging branches can be very dangerous so we prefer you call these in to the Boulder Forestry office at 303-441-4406 and not log a request through the Inquire Boulder system. Please include the exact address of the tree, size of the branch (diameter of the branch), location in the tree (i.e. 30’ above the sidewalk OR broken and hanging down to the ground) and target should the branch fall (sidewalk, street, house, etc). This information helps us prioritize the calls and respond as quickly as possible.

My private tree or my neighbor’s tree has hanging limbs. Who should I contact?

We recommend you consult a licensed certified arborist. If the tree is on your neighbor’s property, please talk to your neighbor before performing any work to their tree yourself or hiring someone to perform the work.

I have a large limb on the ground. (Greater than 6” diameter)

Limbs on the ground are a lower priority than broken limbs still up in the trees. Once we have responded to all the reported broken limbs still up in the trees we will focus on large limbs on the ground.

There was a storm and a public tree was damaged. Will the city remove hanging branches and come pick up the limbs on the ground?

Generally, the city only picks up larger (> 6” diameter branches) that have fallen from public trees. Please enter your request with an exact address of where the branch is located. Submit a request .

Otherwise there are several ongoing options for managing your yard waste including tree branches:

  1. Residents may place any yard debris in their curbside compost collection cart for free. As part of the regular compost collection, on each regularly-scheduled collection day, all haulers are required by law to also pick up (free):
    • Three extra bags of leaves placed outside the compost cart - AND
    • Three additional bundles of branches - six feet long by three feet wide. If there is more than one branch in the bundle, it must be tied with non-plastic twine so it can be picked up by the collection crews and composted.  
  2. Residents can bring – or have someone else bring – leaves, branches and untreated, unpainted wood waste to the yard waste and wood waste drop-off center:
    • Located at Western Disposal’s transfer station: 5880 Butte Mill Road
    • Hours 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday
    • Fees are approximately $6-$10 per car or truck load  
  3. Many landscapers and independent individuals with vehicles are often willing to pick up the branches and transport them to the drop-off center for you. Some residents have reported that Craigslist and Nextdoor are good places to seek low-cost hauling services.

There’s a broken limb down the street….not in front of my house.

Please submit a request (button below) with the correct address closest to the tree. Often, we’ll get a report of the same tree from multiple residents. This will help us focus our efforts.

The City came through after the last big storm and cleaned up all the fallen branches. Why not this time?

Every storm is different, and the City response depends upon the storm severity. There are also far fewer public than private trees in Boulder. Therefore, for most storms, the city relies upon the adjacent property owner to dispose of the branches from both public and private trees.

In rare situations after a severe storm, the city may decide to conduct a citywide branch collection. If this decision is made, a news release will be sent out and information posted on the City website. Citywide clean-ups are quite expensive, and most debris collected from past storms has been from trees on private property.

A tree on the median or bike path has broken branches.

General Questions

Can I create an Inquire Boulder Request?

I would like to get some firewood. Are any firewood lots open to the public?

Yes, at the South Boulder Creek-West Trailhead south of town off Hwy 93. There is a simple permit process and a $15 admin fee, and then you can take up to one-half cord (4’x4’x4’) of wood per day.

I am a contractor and would like to become licensed in Boulder. What do I need to do?

You may apply through the Contractor Licensing site.

Is slacklining allowed on City trees?

Slacklining is only allowed on designated City trees. Please see the interactive map online to identify the approved trees and to read our slackline policy.