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City of East Grand Rapids
750 Lakeside Drive SE
East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Ph: 616-949-2110
Fx: 616-940-4884


Posted on: January 5, 2017

Tree/Shrub Trimming/Pruning

Tree Trimming

The best time of year to trim and prune most trees/shrubs is during the winter months (from late fall to early spring) when they are dormant.

Since they are not active during this time, trimming/pruning is less stressful and they have more time to adequately seal and heal before the growing season starts in the spring. Disease organisms and insects are also not present during winter months that otherwise can be harmful to trees/shrubs that are trimmed or pruned during warmer seasons.

Under Chapter 32 , Section 3.40 of the City Code, the owners of any trees/shrubs on private property overhanging any street or right-of-way (sidewalk) are required to keep them trimmed back adjacent to the street or right-of-way (sidewalk) at 10 feet in height in order to make sure that trees/shrubs do not impact traffic, vision and pedestrian traffic. As this is the best time of year for trees/shrubs to be trimmed/pruned, we encourage residents with trees or schrubs encroaching into a street or sidewalk from private property to trim them back.

Public Works staff plow approximately 80 miles of sidewalks after snow events. Trees/shrubs that impede onto sidewalks can cause damage to plow equipment the trees and shrubs themselves or adjacent lawns as City sidewalk plow operators try to avoid a collision. Taking time to trim back trees/shrubs at this time of year will help the health of the trees/shrubs, improve access on sidewalks and help City sidewalk plow operators clear snow from sidewalks.

Property owners/residents that have tree/shrub growth that impedes into the public right-of-way for streets and sidewalks may receive an ordinance violation notice that requires corrective action. For limbs/branches that create a safety or property damage concern for sidewalk plow operators, the ordinance authorizes the City to trim back limbs/branches that originate from private property.

Please see the the illustration above for proper clearance of trees/shrubs in the public right-of-way.

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