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CERRITOS MAYOR’S MESSAGE: CITY COMMITS TO IMPROVED TREE TRIMMING MAINTENANCE

 Cerritos Mayor Grace Hu.

By Cerritos Mayor Grace Hu

The City of Cerritos has approximately 28,000 trees in its urban forest. Of this total, approximately 25,000 trees are located in medians and parkways, with the remaining trees located in parks or at other City facilities. Mature, well-maintained trees enhance the value of homes and neighborhoods. They help moderate temperatures, lower energy costs and provide oxygen.

Several years ago, the economic downturn resulted in Citywide budget cuts. However, since March 2016, the Cerritos City Council has committed to an increase in tree trimming maintenance. Between March and June 2016, 1,607 trees were trimmed by the City’s contractor, Golden West Arborists. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 6,980 trees were trimmed by the City’s contractor and 1,500 trees were trimmed by City staff, resulting in a total of 8,480 trees trimmed. This fiscal year, the City Council approved a budget of $950,000 for tree trimming. So far 1,936 trees have been trimmed by the City’s contractor and 408 trees have been trimmed by City staff, for a total of 2,344 trees trimmed.

The City is comprised of 20 tree trimming districts of roughly the same geographical size. The City follows standard tree trimming guidelines provided by the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA), which recommend that, in general, trees be trimmed on average every four years. ISA standards also dictate that no more than 25 percent of a tree be removed during trimming. Severe overpruning is prohibited.

In October, the Cerritos City Council approved additional tree trimming services to facilitate the Citywide tree trimming project. A contract was awarded to Great Scott Tree Service for $350,000 to cover tree trimming in three districts through June 2018. This will result in the trimming of approximately 2,590 trees in the current fiscal year.

An additional $204,795 was awarded to Great Scott Tree Service for the removal of 369 residential trees. These trees are in need of removal due to various reasons. Staff removes approximately 300 trees annually that are determined to be hazardous. The City’s Municipal Code dictates that staff can only remove trees for health and safety purposes. In 2014, the City Council approved a modification to the City’s Tree Removal Policy, which allows for tree removal if a parkway tree has caused significant damage to private property as supported by an approved claim. The policy also allows residents to pay for parkway tree trimming and/or tree removal by contracting directly with a tree maintenance company that meets City-specified qualifications.

The City’s comprehensive tree management program, which has been allocated $1,504,795 in fiscal year 2017-2018, includes trimming, removal, replacement, disease management and the identification of problematic trees in urban settings. Our overall goal is to encourage a park-like community through the development of landscaped public areas and open spaces, and to preserve and protect our trees to provide valuable benefits to our community.

Updated tree trimming district maps that track the progress of the City’s tree trimming project are available on the City’s website at cerritos.us. Click on the “Residents” bar on the left-hand side, then select “Public Works” and “Tree Trimming.” For more information on street-tree care or the City’s tree ordinance, call the Public Works Department at (562) 916-1220.

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