Marked for Removal?

Does anyone know if these marks mean the whole tree will be removed or just trimmed? Anyone know what the average lifespan is for some of the larger trees around town? I’m seeing these marks on some beautiful giants:

37 Comment

  • That splash of paint does indeed indicate full removal has been scheduled. While it is always sad to lose a mature tree, the city’s arborists take these matters very seriously, opting for removal only when no other option exists.

  • That looks like an oak. As oaks age, they tend to become hollow cored.. making them weaker. The arborists likely took a sample to see how far this one has progressed… it might be too far along and become too weak.

  • ah

    Yeah, that tree looks like a hazard to those houses and the occupants. Look at the sidewalk getting pushed up by the roots. Look at the size of the tree box compared to the size of the tree–not nearly enough room to get rooted in well. It’s a ticking time bomb, to use a cliche–any storm could bring it down and wipe out 2-3 houses. The canopy looks like it’s thinning too–a healthy tree would be a lot more dense–this one clearly is struggling.

  • I always thought it was a ribbon around the trunk that indicated removal. Perhaps the arborists use the paint mark as well. I am always sad to see a mature tree go.

  • The one across from our house had an orange dot then about four weeks later the tree was gone. It was a sad day but we can only just hope that they know what they’re doing!

  • Does anyone know what happens to the stumps? After the storm we had a couple trees removed on our block, and the tree removal folks just cut them down at the base. In one case the roots came about 60 degrees out of the ground, pulling the treebox with them, and the resulting mess is pretty unsightly. Whose responsibility is it to have the stumps removed from the treeboxes and new trees put in? Buying and planting a new tree is not a big deal but I imagine the stump removal is difficult and costly.

    • It is our experience with a street tree getting taken down that the first crew takes the tree down and then a second crew does the stump grinding. It wasn’t done at the same time, but the second crew does in fact show up one day the stump is removed.

    • That was supposed to be:
      “It wasn’t done at the same time, but the second crew does in fact show up one day and the stump is removed.”

    • You can use 311 to request that the stump(s) be removed.

    • The string of storms we had has created a backlog for the stump grinding equipment and crew. I’m sure the stump near your house has a work order to be completed, but feel free to make a 311 (311.dc.gov) request.

      • Thanks, I’ll do that. We have two large stumps on the block, and it’s a street that gets a lot of foot traffic and visitors, so it should be a priority.

  • Nope – that’s definitely a sniper’s laser sight. He’s waiting for juuuuuust the right time.

  • female ginkgo trees are marked this way too, so they can be treated annually.

  • In Alexandria they mark trees for removal all the time. Actual removal may or may not occur once a tree is marked. Part of this is disorganization but part also is a lack of resources. That is, a tree may be marked for removal on Monday but if a storm comes through on Thursday, resources will be devoted to storm clean up and the marked tree may not get remarked/removed for many months/years after. Don’t know if this is the same in DC but I wouldn’t doubt it.

  • Close-up picture shows CRACK in the tree’s bark. What looks OK might on the outside, the inside could be in major decay. Recently a huge tree in McLean feel and killed a 64 yo man in his Mercedes, the weather was clear, the tree hollow from rot.

    Casey Trees Organization keeps infor on all DC street trees and their condidtion. Check out their website.

  • As others have mentioned, the orange dot means that it is scheduled to be cut down. However, it does seem like UFA sometimes accidentally marks trees for removal that shouldn’t be removed, so if you want to make sure it can be worth calling them to double check.

  • After the tree is marked and removed, is the city responsible for planting a new tree? What’s the process for deciding on the species? Do the nearby homeowners have any input?

    • ah

      Yes, the city should add the empty tree box as one that should be filled, but it can take a year or two. You can call to request a tree for an empty spot, but I think the deadline for requests for tree to be planted this winter (when they do the planting) has passed, so you’re looking at late 2013/early 2014 before they fill the request.

      My experience was they planted something similar to what I requested (asked for Sugar Maple, got Red Maple), but UFA tries to make sure not all the trees in an area are the same. In my case, two other trees on the block were also maples, so not sure whether that helped or hurt.

  • I’m very impressed by all of you knowledgable commenters. Very informative!

  • The city’s 311 line can be used to have a ticket opened on any tree related matter (pruning, removal, stump removal, re-planting). Planting any kind of bushes in an empty tree box may mean you will never get a new tree planted because the arborists are skittish on removing a resident’s bush to plant the new tree. If you get a new tree planted in the tree box in front of your residence…please, please water it once a week during the first two to three summers. Too many people assume it’s the city’s responsibility to clean their tree box and water the tree and it’s really something we should assume responsibity for. The tree box in front of your property is a reflection of your property. Respect it.

    • Thanks for the comment. UFA also has a Canopy Keeper tree adoption program through which you can request a free watering tub to help you water new trees. We do have crews that make the rounds, but rely on residents and businesses to provide more consistent water.

  • Trees can be effectively dead and still produce leaves for years afterwards. My guess is that’s what’s happened here.

    Losing a tree is heartbreaking. I grew up in Tenley town with a gigantic tree outside the house. Countless kids, including me, played around it. Thankfully the city took it down before it fell down but that was a sad day.

    I was recently at the citizen dump and there was a massive pile of cut up logs. It looked like that’s where dead trees go. Not sure what they do with them. They might just landfill them.

  • In my neighborhood it meant full tree removal. It was so sad to lose mature trees but apparently they had hollowed out. In light of the recent crazy storms we have had like Derecho, it was a good idea to remove them before they fell into someones house. Urban Forestry should come back in a few months and plant new tress though. We got 5 or 6 new ones, all different speciies, on one block of Princeton. they are small but its good knowing someone decades from now will get to enjoy them like we enjoyed the previous big trees.

    • Also want to add, for those of you with yards, please consider having a tree planted. Its critical to the city that we increase the tree canopy, its good for run off and energy efficiency around your house and to combat the heat island effect. I got THREE trees for $50/each from Casey Trees. A birch, oak and pink dogwood. The birch and oak were over 12 feet tall and they did the planting for me and have been great with follow up when I had questions. Even came back to to check on the “root shock” of the dogwood to make sure we were caring for it properly.

  • I met with a DCDOT arborist the other day — very pleasant and knowledgeable. They are very conservative about taking down trees. Incidentally, on my street — Lanier Place, there are several magnificent American Elms. She said they are also treated each year to prevent Dutch Elm disease, but are slowly sluccumbing. They are replanting some elms that they hope are disease resistant

  • Yeah, if an arborist paints a tree, it usually means removal, because paint is a little too permanent for just a branch trimming. As arlington’s arborist, I usually go for a white X, but there’s no standard for what means removal. I usually use ribbon for trimming or dead branch removal.

  • Some of the trees the city plants grow fast enough to look pretty good in well under a decade. The one in front of our house, some kind of maple I think, is only 4 or 5 years old and is already nearly as tall as our 2-story house.

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