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Tree Trimming
*Note: Under Part II, Title XXIV, Chapter 362 of the City of Saint Paul's legislative code, all tree contractors must be licensed by the City of Saint Paul, Department of Safety and Inspection to work on all trees, stumps, and limbs larger than two inches in diameter, in the City of Saint Paul.  Additionally, all work on public property trees must be permitted by Saint Paul Forestry.
Licensing information can be obtained from: 
City of Saint Paul, Department of Safety and Inspection 
(651) 266-8989
Part II, Title XXIV, Chapter 362 of the City of Saint Paul's Legislative Code



1100 Hamline Ave N
Saint Paul, MN  55108

Ph: (651) 632-5129
Ph: (651) 632-2433
Fx: (651) 642-0525

7:00 am - 3:30 pm
Monday - Friday

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Forestry crews trim public property trees for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To improve the aesthetic appearance of the tree and the streetscape.
  • To improve the health of the tree, by removal of diseased or failing limbs, correction of growth defects and reduction of wind resistance.
  • To remove dead limbs that could fall and cause damage or injuries.
  • To remove limbs that obstruct traffic signs and signals, street lighting and power lines.
  • To lessen interference with vehicle traffic, pedestrians, and buildings.

Public property trees are trimmed in accordance with national standards and care is taken to ensure the health of the trees and the urban forest as a whole.

Residents should refrain from trimming trees, but notify Forestry with trees of concern.  

Many trees may grow suckers form the base of the tree that can reduce sight lines for traffic, reduce the health of the tree and be aesthetically unpleasing.  Residents may prune suckers from trees in the fall, once the trees have stopped growing, and the suckers harden off for the year.

Please review proper pruning practices on page 5-6 of the How to Prune guide, by the United States Forest Service.  Correct pruning cuts will promote healthy growth and reduce the risk of disease.

Power Line Trimming

Xcel Energy now performs all routine power line pruning in Saint Paul.  To learn more and find contact information for Xcel Energy visit the Power Line Pruning page.

Why City Trees are Trimmed High

There are three primary reasons that City trees are trimmed high: 
  • Safety- We try to keep all tree branches extending over the street at least 14 to 16-feet above the ground. This decreases the danger of car accidents caused by reduced visibility due to overhanging branches, ensuring drivers can see oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and traffic signs clearly.  Prevention of damage to trees caused by taller vehicles is another key concern.  Keeping sidewalks clear for pedestrian traffic and keeping the trees clear of power, telephone and other utility lines are also safety concerns related to tree trimming.
  • Trimming cycle - With over 124,000 trees to maintain, it can take a long time for Forestry crews to return to trim a tree again. With limited staff and funding, the time between tree trimmings may be up to 13 years. This means crews have to cut enough to keep branches at a safe height, not just for now, but for the next 13 years.
  • Tree health and shape - Since Forestry may not be able to return for up to 13 years to trim the tree again, it is necessary to plan for the future of the tree's health and shape by removing undesirable branches now to preserve the longtime beauty of the tree.

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