Tree Maintenance « The City of Lakewood, Ohio -
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Additional Information

Tree Maintenance

The city deeply appreciates and shares the concerns residents have for the Lakewood’s tree canopy. Proper maintenance of the mature tree canopy is a process of ongoing, year-round hazard tree assessments. The Lakewood Urban Forest comprises over 13,630 trees and is a living and ever-changing ecosystem with a unique set of challenges different from what a more natural forest would require from a management structure.

Residents are assured that the only trees in decline with significant structural defects that pose a great potential risk will be removed. The strategy to remove is carefully developed by the Division of Streets and Forestry. We do not remove healthy large trees. More often than removals, the Division works to identify trees with structural defects that can be pruned to make safe and retain ecological services citywide.

The tree maintenance project being performed this spring will remove 14 hazardous trees citywide. All trees that have been flagged for removal meet at least two of the following hazard conditions: risk of total failure due to significant wood decay fungi (either base/root flare, trunk/stem and/or branch collar attachments), noticeable external decay, deep vertical trunk cracking, large numbers of carpenter ants observed during summer months in conjunction with other defects, signs of internal decay and poor branch attachments that we have observed when up in the canopy when assessing trees, defects created by storm damage that we can no longer mitigate for preservation, past canopy leaf out at less than 66% in conjunction with other structural defects. Trees flagged for removal also all pose a threat due to being located in a high vehicle and pedestrian traffic zone with a high number of potential targets.

The stump or trunk may not always tell the picture of what the upper canopy decay or defects may have been. In some cases, the city may have to remove the trees due to buttress root decay. This is in conjunction with an increase in the amount of fruiting fungi structures (Ustulina deusta fungi – and others) at the base of the trunk or within old branch failure cavities. The presence of the Ustulina deusta fungi in Lakewood was confirmed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Those trees impacted by Ustulina deusta fungi at the base of the trunk or within old branch failure cavities concern us the most. Infected trees decay rapidly and can eventually fail, either from large upper canopy fractures, from the base, or large buttress roots that become more prone to windthrow during storms.

We identify and keep an inventory of potential hazard trees and rank them accordingly for strategic removals each year to strike the proper balance of a safe, growing and much more diverse tree canopy throughout Lakewood.

To learn more about the city of Lakewood’s Tree Action Plan please click here. To reach out to the Division of Streets and Forestry call (216) 529-6810.