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County Cable 6
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Tree Maintenance is performed by the Department of Transportation's Division of Highway Services under a permit granted by the Maryland State Forester's Office. Under the Maryland Roadside Tree Law, all trees growing on a publicly maintained right of way are considered part of the State Forest and are maintained by the local government agency. All activities, such as pruning, removal, insect and disease control, planting, root cutting, etc., are completed by the Tree Maintenance Section of the Division of Highway Services, which may be contacted at 311.
Montgomery County plants approximately 1800 trees per year to replace trees that have been removed from the public right-of-way. Trees are replaced by the County on a request basis. If you desire a tree, you should contact the Division of Highway Services at 311 for a County Arborist to inspect the property for appropriate species and location.
Acceptable major trees shall be 8' to 12' tall and have a minimum trunk caliper of 1 3/4" - 2" as measured 6" above ground level. They shall be branched at a point approximately 60% of the total height of the tree above ground. Larger sizes are acceptable but must conform to American Standards for nursery stock.
Acceptable minor trees shall be a minimum of 8' - 10' tall and have a minimum caliper of 1" - 1 1/2" measured 6" above ground level. Remaining description is the same as for major trees.
APPROVED STREET TREES
River Birch (single stem)
Carpinus betulus Fastigiata'
European Hornbeam (upright form)
Ginkgo (male, fruitless)
Kentucky Coffeetree (male, seedless)
Platanus x acerifolia
Swamp White Oak
Northern Red Oak
Ulmus americana "Valley Forge"
Zelkova serrata Village Green'
Village Green Zelkova
Redbud Texas White
Fringetree (tree form)
Cornus florida *
White Flowering Dogwood
Cornus florida rubra*
Pink Flowering Dogwood
Crataegus crusgalli inermis'*
Cockspur Hawthorn, thornless
Prunus x incamp 'Okame'*
Chinese Evergreen Oak
* denotes a flowering tree
Other species are considered by request.
Montgomery County Design Standards set the guidelines for trees planted on the right of way, as well as the spacing between trees and other features commonly found on the public right of way. Design standards were set by Division of Transportation Engineering.
Trees are pruned for a number of reasons related to public safety and the health of our urban forest. In general, trees are trimmed to remove deadwood, diseased branches, structural defects and to train the growth of young trees. Trees are also trimmed to maintain adequate clearance for vehicles and pedestrians generally 12' to 14' over the road and 8' over the sidewalk. Branches obscuring traffic signals stop signs and other traffic control devices are also removed. Our goal is to trim trees to maintain them and, if possible, to improve their health and appearance.
Trees are also trimmed by the various utility companies, most commonly PEPCO, to minimize problems caused by branches rubbing on energized lines. This activity is not regulated by Montgomery County. Questions regarding this type of trimming should be directed to the appropriate utility company. If you feel that a tree growing on a County maintained roadway is in need of pruning, contact the Division of Highway Services at 311 to request an inspection.
If you feel that a tree growing on a State maintained road (a numbered road such as MD 97, Georgia Avenue,) needs attention, you should contact the Maryland State Highway Administration field office at 301-948-2477 (Gaithersburg Shop) or 301-572-5166 (Fairland Shop).
Upon receipt of a request to trim a tree, an inspection order is generated. Unless an emergency situation is indicated, inspection of the request occurs the next time a County Arborist does routine inspection in the neighborhood. Upon inspection, the work needed, if any, is prioritized based on its severity. Work that has the greatest potential to adversely affect public safety receives the highest priority. Work orders are created following inspection, with those work orders having the highest priority being assigned to crews first.
Trees are removed for a number of reasons including death of the tree, structural defect, declining health, etc. Requests to remove a tree from the public right of way should be made to the Division of Highway Services. Requests are inspected by County Arborists to determine if the tree should be removed and the priority it should receive. Occasionally, trees that require removal have power lines in close proximity to parts of the tree. In this case, the removal of the tree must be coordinated with the appropriate utility, which can add to the length of time required to effect the removal of the tree.
Upon removal of a tree, the location of the stump, if any, is noted in our tree management system for future "removal". Removal consists of the mechanical grinding of the stump and those exposed roots radiating from the stump out to where the roots first enter the ground. The stump and roots are ground to a depth of 6" below the surrounding ground level. The wood chips are removed and the hole filled with a topsoil mixture and the surface seeded with grass. The dirt is left mounded slightly to allow for settlement as the remaining underground portions of the stump rot. It is helpful for the establishment of the grass to water the seeded area until the grass is established.