01/23/04 — Goldsboro tree pruning

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Goldsboro tree pruning

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on January 23, 2004 2:02 PM

Goldsboro's proposed zoning ordinance will seek to preserve city trees from private cutters, but one council member said he is concerned about the way the trees have been trimmed in the past to make way for utilities. They look lopsided, he said.

The discussion began this week at a work session when the council reviewed a new sentence in the ordinance that bans "tree topping," which is pruning back the tops of trees, on all public property. This excludes the city and power company, which cut the trees to avoid utilities.

City Manager Richard Slozak said there had not been a problem with people topping the trees, but the ordinance was written to address any problems that could occur. It's part of the city's effort to maintain and preserve trees on city property and in designated public right-of-way areas, according to the ordinance.

Usually only the city or the electric company trim trees on public property, Slozak said.

The zoning ordinance also has tree maintenance standards for property owners regarding how trees on private property can be pruned. Those rules will stay the same.

City Councilman Charles Williams asked if the body of a tree expanded when the tree was topped.

Slozak said that when trees were topped, new growth shot up and that had to be cut back.

"Some trees, that won't happen," Slozak said. "The power company cuts away from power lines, and we trim off dead branches and growth around street lights."

Williams was concerned about lopsided trees, those where one side of limbs have been cut to avoid power lines. In the past, residents have complained about the way trees have been pruned.

Slozak said that the trimming done by the city and by Progress Energy didn't make the trees lopsided. He acknowledged, though, that there were some trees in the past that had been cut that looked lopsided, but he said that occurred before the city's tree-pruning ordinance was approved.

Slozak said that the power company cuts the trees according to city standards.

Williams wanted to know whether the standards included a requirement to shape up the trees.

Slozak said that the city didn't have a program to shape every tree all over the place.

"In other words, we're mostly concerned about safety," said Councilman J.B. Rhodes.

Williams said lopsided trees could be a safety problem.

"If you cut off one side of the tree, there's more weight on the other side, and if a wind storm came up, it could topple," Williams said.

Slozak said cutting a tree that way would be against the city's standards.

"If there are trees like that, it happened prior to our program," he said. "We've also gone to putting in a lot of small ornamental trees like the crepe myrtle.

"There's really not been much of any problem."