Questions & Answers
Q. What is the Street Tree Maintenance Program?
Almost everyone would agree that the 80,000 street & park trees (As of 4/22/2016) lining our streets, boulevards and in our parks comprise one of Fort Wayne's most cherished public assets. What many people don't know, however, is that the professional care and maintenance of these trees is the responsibility of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department. A trained arborist and specialized tree crew have been a part of our operation for decades.
Q. Which trees in my neighborhood are maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department?
Generally speaking, those trees which are in the "street right of way" or between the street and the sidewalk are maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department. This may include trees which you have purchased and planted yourself.
The main task involves the pruning of street trees, those trees that are planted between the street and the sidewalk, with the goal of making the trees as safe and healthy as possible.
Q. Why are trees trimmed differently?
Trimming provides clearance for buses, garbage trucks, moving vans and other large vehicles that can damage the branches of trees. Trimming opens up sidewalks for pedestrians, clears branches from rooftops, antennas, evergreens and traffic signs, and allows motorists a clear view of intersections.
All pruning is done by nationally accepted specifications. Since the Parks & Recreation Dept. has started pruning on a cyclic basis annual tree mortality has decreased from 1000 to 500. Also, liability and property damage caused by storms has been greatly reduced.
Q. What if I am unhappy with the pruning?
Q. My street tree needs to be pruned? Will you prune it?
Following pruning, the tree starts growing new, stronger limbs. This new growth begins to fill in the empty spaces almost immediately.
Q. Sometimes it looks like healthy trees are removed. Why?
Low limbs do not rise higher as a tree gets older; instead they bend lower toward the ground as the tree matures. Branches may grow 16 to 28 inches a year depending on the weather and the type of tree. Our tree trimming may seem severe because:
1) Nationally accepted standards call for street trees to be "raised" 10 to 14 feet above the street for clearance purposes. (This is higher than trees in parks, golf courses and private property.)
2) The pruning cycle prevents crews from returning to each neighborhood to conduct routine pruning for several years.
Low limbs that will become a problem because of their location should be removed when trees are young. Remember that the appearance of a newly pruned tree is temporary and becomes less dramatic with each passing season and each subsequent trimming.
Trees lining our streets and shading our sidewalks must be pruned much differently than trees standing in our parks or a homeowner's lawn. Our pruning methods reflect the street tree's specialized purpose and growing environment, which is to provide cooling shade over hard surfaced streets and sidewalks.
1950's City workers pruning trees
Q.What is the new Tree Protection Policy and how does that impact me?
Yes, with the verbal consent of the City Arborist who can be reached at 260.427.6480, you can plant a tree in the street right of way. The Arborist will advise you of the tree species that are suitable and also which species are not to be planted.
Q. Can I plant a tree myself in the street right of way?
Q. What if I'd like my street tree to be removed?
Following national industry guidelines, it is the Parks & Recreation Dept.’s policy NOT to remove or allow to be removed, any living tree or trees in the park strip. Trees that interfere with construction projects will be handled on a case-by-case basis.The arborist drives each street in the City from April to September and marks the dead trees for removal. The arborist determines if that tree meets the criteria for removal.
Q. They came and cut the tree but the stump is still there and needs to be removed. When will this be done?
The Parks Department removes dead and hazardous street trees year round. The Stumps are placed on a comprehensive list and are removed by contract. The Parks Department has secured a price agreement with a local company. The stumps will be removed within 60 days of the tree being removed. Please check the current 2014 Stump List posted on this website.
Q. What if the street tree roots are lifting up the sidewalk?
Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks adjacent to their property. However, with proper notice (3-5 working days) the Parks & Recreation Dept. will evaluate the tree and roots and provide options to the home owner.
Q. What is the Comprehensive Tree Maintenance Program?
If you have an emergency situation regarding a street tree (which is usually between the sidewalk & the street), at your address, during business hours (7am-3:30pm) please call the City Arborist at (260) 427-6480 or city police department at (260) 427-1230. If an emergency occurs after hours call 911.
Q. What if a street tree limb or tree is down?
Q. What does "Tree City USA" mean?
The Fort Wayne Park and Recreation Department has held the distinct honor of being a Tree City USA for 26 years. To become a Tree City USA, your department must meet four standards. You must have a Tree Board or Department, a tree care ordinance, a Community Forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observation program and proclamation. This certification is from the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Q. What do I do if a tree is on fire?
If a tree is on fire call 911.
When a tree is on fire, the fire extinguishes itself when the viable wood turns to charcoal. The charcoal insulates the rest of the wood and it may smolder for quite a while. However, it is still important to contact the 911 in case the fire worsens.
Q. What if I have questions about street trees? Is there someone I can e-mail?
If you have questions pertaining to street trees, please e-mail:
If you would like, you can download an on-line copy of the Shading Our City: Urban Forest Management Plan