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TREE DAMAGE PREVENTION

Tree Care Prevention

Tree Damage Prevention

The City of Miramar's Tree Damage Prevention's goal is to educate Miramar residents and help prevent the wrongful care of the city shade trees. This site is dedicated to educating its public on the value of trees, what their benefits are, who should care for them and how the homeowner or homeowners associations can help to preserve and promote a valuable tree canopy for the well being of our community.

Trees provide many benefits for the social well-being of our society. Research has demonstrated that trees in urban and sub-urban areas significantly improve the overall quality of lives for the residents. 

Trees provide the backdrop to our urban spaces and promote civic pride.  Many cities across the U.S. have associated their civic identities with their trees like Savannah, Georgia and Washington, D.C.   

Trees structure our outdoor spaces and they help cities define the boundaries between public and private properties.  By providing canopy coverage, trees reduce and soften the force of falling rain on understory plantings, and by providing shade, trees help make the hot, South Florida climate more bearable - providing up to a 10 degree cooler microclimate beneath their canopies, and lowering air-conditioning costs.

In addition to these benefits, trees help establish and promote community pride, enhance real estate values, save money on energy cooling costs and promote economic development. In order to continuously extract these benefits, proper maintenance must be followed to ensure a healthy and long lived tree.

Plan The installation of trees are a result of the city’s requirements for landscape planting at the time of site plan development where neighborhoods are created.

To remove or alter the character of installed trees is against the law

The city makes requirements for trees to mitigate for the loss of existing natural canopy habitats to ensure that its residents and the city as a whole benefit from having a substantial tree canopy.

Because of its regard for trees, the City of Miramar has earned the designation of Tree City USA continuously since 1993 from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Having a Tree City USA designation brings recognition and indicates that the city has established trees and their management as a priority.  It fosters a sense of pride and goodwill towards the appearance and livability of the city.  This helps promote the further development of economic growth and has been a contributor in ensuring a steady increase in real estate values for the area.

Young Tree Recently planted trees are very young, therefore it is the responsibility of the homeowner and of the HOAs (homeowner’s associations) to properly care for their trees as they mature.

In summary, the presence of trees benefits all of the residents of the City of Miramar.  The loss of tree canopy not only affects the property it is on but it affects the character of our neighborhoods and communities, as well as mitigating our summer temperatures.

To recap, homeowner and homeowners associations can play a role in promoting a quality neighborhood by getting involved, by being informed, and by assuring that their hired help is qualified and certified. 

Recently, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance regulating the tree trimming industry. This action was taken as a result of concerns about the quality of tree trimming practiced in the County, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. All businesses or governmental agencies that perform tree trimming in Broward County are required to obtain a Tree Trimmer License, and to be overseen by a certified arborist.

Proper Tree Care

Trees
Trees in natural environments have the protection of surrounding trees

Trees
Trees in urban environments
require
maintenance

Proper Tree and Palm Pruning

Pruning of tree limbs on a regularly scheduled basis will improve tree health, control growth, and enhance fruiting, flowering, and appearance.  Trees should be pruned for the first time 2 to 5 years after planting, then every 5 to 7 years thereafter. Pruning is best done from winter to early spring (before new growth starts) because wounds close quickly as growth starts in the spring and insect and disease infestations are less likely.

Proper Pruning

Proper Tree Pruning Techniques

Visualizing Outcomes
The first step in pruning is to stand back and look at the tree to be pruned. Try to imagine what it will look like when it is going to be larger, and remember that tree limbs will increase in diameter and lengthen but will not move upward on the trunk as the tree grows.
 
Tree Care

Proper pruning cuts
Pruning cuts should be made just outside the branch collar.  The branch collar is an extension of the main stem of the tree where the branch joins the main trunk. The branch collar contains trunk tissue that will eventually cover the cut and should not be damaged or removed.  Cutting into the branch collar will induce decay to expand into the main trunk of the tree. 

Tree Care

Below are some other quick tips to follow:

  • Always make pruning cuts on the outside of the branch collar
  • Do not leave branch stubs, living or dead
  • Use sharp hand tools designed for pruning and wear safety equipment
  • Do not paint wounds with pruning paint. It does not prevent decay and may interfere with wound closure
  • Homeowners should never climb a tree to prune limbs or attempt to prune limbs near overhead powerlines
  • Never remove more than 1/3 of the live crown in a single pruning.

By definition pruning is the process of selectively removing unwanted parts of a plant or tree to preserve and enhance its structural integrity.

In the South Florida region, we prune trees mainly to increase their chances of withstanding a storm while enduring and causing minimal damage. Pruned trees perform better when subjected to forces of strong winds associated with hurricanes and thunderstorms because they facilitate for the passage of wind through their canopies and they are free of limbs that a have a potential for becoming projectiles.  Because of these reasons, it is imperative that homeowners and homeowner associations hire tree care professionals that have the certifiable knowledge on how to properly prune trees and who are properly insured.

Uncertified and uninsured tree maintenance workers will inevitably charge less to prune trees but their low fees are deceiving.   They may incorrectly prune trees which will put in peril the adjacent properties and their values because of weakly attached new growth.

Because it is a delicate process and requires extensive knowledge, homeowners and homeowner associations should refrain from pruning trees even though it seems deceivingly simple.  In fact, the only time a homeowner should prune a tree themselves is when the immediate safety of a person is in peril.

The best way of preventing wrongful pruning is to get involved.  The homeowner should have the tree expert pre-select and mark the branches that will be pruned.  Once pre-selected, the homeowner should discuss together with the tree expert the reasons and effects the pruning will have on the future growth of the tree.

An educated homeowner cannot be taken advantage of.  Therefore, the homeowner must be able to recognize if the tree expert is performing his job correctly.  Of primary importance is recognizing what a proper tree cut should look like. In addition, knowing and understanding the effects of pruning will allow the homeowner to recognize if their tree structure or health is being put in peril.

A cut when properly made should be done at an angle away from the remaining branch or trunk. The bark around the cut should be intact and should not have any tears.   The cut should never run along the trees’ trunk. This is called a flush cut and it can promote disease in your tree.

Remaining branches should not be cut flatly across the limb leaving stubs, this is called topping and it will promote undesirable and weak growths with a high potential for becoming projectiles in a storm.

Pruning methods affect the structure of a tree and are directly related to how the tree responds to the winds of a hurricane or a severe storm.   All efforts must be made to maintain a tree structural integrity and to prevent for trees to become projectiles. 

There are two types of pruning methods; those that promote desirable tree growths and those that promote hazardous conditions.  Desirable methods include cleaning, thinning, raising and reducing. Undesirable methods include topping, excessive lifting, and lion-tailing.

Improper Pruning Damages Trees
Topping or excessively lifting a tree, which distorts a tree’s natural form is not recommended.  By suddenly removing the tree’s canopy, which acts like an umbrella, sun can scald remaining exposed tissue and send the tree into shock.  These practices remove leaves, which manufacture the tree’s food through photosynthesis, upsets a tree’s crown to root ratio and temporarily causes starvation.  

Topping

Topping, also known as hat racking, is a type of pruning where most of the canopy is removed from a tree, leaving mostly branch stubs. The most common reason given for topping and hat racking is to reduce the tree’s size and make it safer.  However, removal of branches and leaving stubbs disfigures the tree and cuts off the tree’s ability to manufacture nutrients.  Also, topping to control height and spread of a tree has just the opposite effect, as it causes rapid new growth that is far more dense than normal growth and is much more weakly attached. Therefore, the tree returns to its original height in a very short time and with a far denser crown.  Topping initiates decay in the trunk and main branches and attracts wood boring insects.  Never top a tree or allow anyone to top one of your trees. Topping is equivalent to butchering a tree. Competent arborists do not top trees.

Topping is a violation in Miramar.

Tree CareExcessive Lifting and Over Thinning

Excessive lifting of trees or over thinning is a common but poor pruning practice where the lower branches of the tree are removed to provide clearance for cars, structures, etc. This type of pruning causes trees to be top heavy, reduces trunk taper and increases chances of branch breakage.  It also disfigures the natural form of the tree, and makes it far easier to be pushed over by strong winds.

Over lifting of trees is a violation in Miramar.Why Prune Trees


 
Tips for pruning of trees prior to storms and hurricanes

  • Prune for strength and form
    • Prune for strength by removing:
      • Co-dominant leaders or multiple trunks to encourage the growth of one main trunk
      • Injured, diseased and dead branches
      • Rubbing branches
    • Prune for form by removing:
      • Excess lateral branches to produce a ladder effect at maturity
      • Water sprouts and root suckers
      • Limbs that turn inward, cross or extend
  • Topping a large tree causes excessive sprouting of weakly attached new branches and also increases wind resistance by creating denser branching patterns. Excessive lifting creates a condition where trees become top-heavy. Both of these methods of pruning increase the chances of wind damage in the long run.

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Legal Issues

Violations $15,000Shade trees are protected because the county and city ordinances value the benefits they provide. 

Fines & Citations

The City of Miramar makes provisions for the proper maintenance and care for trees in Chapter 9 of the city’s Land Development Code where it stipulates that to remove or alter the natural character of these trees is against the law, allowing the city or county to exercise their right to cite and fine these individuals or homeowner associations who infringe on this policy even on private property. 

Depending on the severity of the infraction, fines can be as high as $15,000 as per the Broward County’s ordinance. In addition, a replacement for any tree that has been removed without permission may require an equal per inch replacement for the removed tree costing the homeowner or homeowner’s association a minimum of $300.

Proper tree and palm maintenance mandated by the city constitutes proper watering, proper fertilization, and proper tree pruning. 

Recently, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance regulating the tree trimming industry. This action was taken as a result of concerns about the quality of tree trimming practiced in the County, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. All businesses or governmental agencies that perform tree trimming in Broward County are required to obtain a Tree Trimmer License, and to be overseen by a certified arborist.

To remove or alter the character of installed trees is against the law

CIVICALL CODE COMPLIANCE
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954-602-HELP

Code Compliance Main Pbone Number
954-602-3174

Prepare for Hurricane Season

Tips for pruning of trees prior to storms and hurricanes

  • Prune for strength and form
    • Prune for strength by removing:
      • Co-dominant leaders or multiple trunks to encourage the growth of one main trunk
      • Injured, diseased and dead branches
      • Rubbing branches
    • Prune for form by removing:
      • Excess lateral branches to produce a ladder effect at maturity
      • Water sprouts and root suckers
      • Limbs that turn inward, cross or extend
  • Don't Top
  • Don't Lift Excessively
  • Don't Lion-Tail

Powerpoint Presentation HOA
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Choose an Arborist

Homeowners who rush to accept the service of a tree expert are frequently taken advantage of by fly-by-night amateurs with a pickup truck and chainsaw. The result of this is poor quality work, and greater long term costs. The best option is to choose a tree care professional. The arborist (tree care professional) you will want to hire should:

  • have an occupational license and a bonafide business in the community
  • be listed in the telephone directory "yellow pages" commonly under tree service
  • be fully insured for property damage, personal liability and worker compensation
  • be a member of a professional association such as the National Arborist Association, the Florida Arborist Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, or the American Society of Consulting Arborists

Recently, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted an ordinance regulating the tree trimming industry. This action was taken as a result of concerns about the quality of tree trimming practiced in the County, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. All businesses or governmental agencies that perform tree trimming in Broward County are required to obtain a Tree Trimmer License.

Glossary
  • Pruning is the process of selectively removing unwanted parts of a plant or tree to preserve and enhance its structural integrity.
  • Cleaning consists of selectively reducing hazardous conditions in a tree. W hen a tree is subjected to a storm’s winds, broken, diseased and weakly attached limbs will become airborne projectiles that assume the speed of the wind and can cause unpredictable damages to people and their property.  Cleaning removes limbs with the highest potential for breakage. This greatly reduces the probability for damages associated with their dislodgement.
  • Thinning consists of selectively pruning branches and limbs to promote an increased light penetration and air movement within the canopy.  By doing so, thinning reduces the canopy’s overall weight and density by removing small branches from the outside portion of the canopy only, not from the interior without drastically changing the natural character of the tree.  During a storm the force exerted on a thin tree is lessened allowing it to sift the winds force and lessening its’ probability to limb breakage and to collapse.
  • Lion-tailing consists of clearing out inner foliages off the branches displacing the weight of the foliage to the ends of the limbs and altering its’ natural character.   A lion-tailed tree has greater susceptibility to break as a result of wind force. During a storm the limb will flex and bend to a greater extent than if the resistance were consistent along it’s’ length.  This will cause it to act in a pendulous manner forcing it to break.
  • Crown raising also called elevating is the selective removal of the lower branches from a tree in order to provide a desired clearance.  Although crown-raising elevated the canopy of a tree, the limbs should not be stripped of their foliage.  Normally it is not necessary for the tree expert to raise the tree since trees are normally installed at heights that already provide clearances for pedestrians and most vehicles. 
  • Over-lifting is the removal of lower limbs and of inner foliages when crown raising.  This affects the trees’ structural stability and it compromises the tree’s natural appearance. During a storm, the resistance to the wind force is displaced to the top of the tree causing it to rotate and forcing it to break along its’ vertical supports.
  • Reduction, known as drop crotching, consists of reducing the overall sized of the tree and should be done only when it is compromised by overhead utilities and low-clearances. A properly reduced tree will have less density in it’s’ canopy mass and will be less likely to collapse.  Care should be made that the tree expert does not stunt the growth of three but instead re-directs it to grow in a more horizontal form.
  • Topping, commonly called hat-racking consists of indiscriminately cutting limbs back to a stub or bud, drastically reducing the overall size and character of a tree.  Topping will cause new, weakly attached growths to flush the ends of the limbs.  Because these flushed growths are weakly attached, they will not resist the winds’ force.   Even if they grow to become large limbs, they will easily become dislodged in a storm posing future dangers. Because it depletes nutrients production, topping can kill the tree.
  • Creating topiary forms out of shade trees is another form of topping and it is unlawful because it alters the natural character of the tree and because a topped tree is a disfigured tree.  Instead, large shrubs are more suitable and should be used when topiary forms are desired.
  • If a tree needs to be removed for any reason, the homeowner or homeowners’ association must apply for a city issued tree removal permit. The city will follow by inspecting the tree and will either grant or deny its’ removal.
  • Beyond pruning painting a trunk should be avoided.

Powerpoint Presentation HOA - This document is quite large: 183,000 KB - It may take a while.

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