City of Red Wing

Do You Have a Concern About a Tree?

Wednesday, September 18 2013 12:00 AM

Citizens occasionally contact the City of Red Wing to complain about a tree on public or private property.  The City appreciates notice of problems with trees on boulevards and in parks or in situations where trees on private property put the public at risk.  The City generally does not get involved in disputes between neighbors about private property trees.

These are the situations in which the City gets involved with trees on private property:

  • Dutch elm disease.  When an infected tree is found in the control area, the City condemns the tree and requires treatment or removal.  (Ordinance Section 10.20.02, Subd 2)
  • Emerald ash borer.  When an infested tree is found in the control area, the City permits treatment or condemns the tree.  (Ordinance Section 10.20.02, Subd 1)
  • Oak wilt disease.  When an infected tree is found anywhere, the City provides information on how to manage the disease.
  • Dead, diseased, hazardous or infectious trees.  The City has the right to cause removal.  (Ordinance Section 10.13, Subd 3).

A hazardous tree means one with defects or damage including cracks, weak branches, decay, and insect infestation that may cause injury or damage to a person or property.  The City does not have the resources to intervene in all cases, so it takes action only when the likelihood of failure is probable or imminent, the likelihood of impacting a target is high and the consequences are significant or severe.  The City relies on the professional judgment of its Tree Inspector and forester in making this determination.

When the City receives a complaint about a tree, it tries to determine if the tree meets one of the criteria listed above.  If it might, then a Tree Inspector from the Public Works Department visits the site.  In some situations, the City has its forester, who is also a Certified Arborist, visit the site and make a report.

Most complaints about trees in a neighboring yard are left to the neighbors to resolve amongst themselves.  In unusual cases, where the City does condemn a tree, it follows a process spelled out in ordinance for notice and appeal of the decision before any action is taken to prune or remove the tree.  Since the City contract for public tree removals does not apply to private trees, the owners of condemned trees may prefer to make their own arrangements for tree work.

Thank you for keeping an eye on trees and letting the City know about problems seen in the City of Red Wing.