When are trees cut down?

Myself and some other colleagues have heard a few rumblings of residents upset over the city taking down their trees when they didn’t think they needed to be taken down, following the April ice storm.


I talked to some city staff about this, and while they said they haven’t really heard any “complaints,” they have heard of some people “concerned and sentimental about their trees.”

The city follows FEMA guidelines when it comes to removing what they deem to be hazardous trees. They are as follows:

A tree is considered hazardous if it has a diameter breast height of six inches or greater; and one or more of the following criteria are met:

·         It has more than 50 percent of the crown damaged or destroyed;

·         It has a split trunk or broken branches that expose the heartwood;

·         It has fallen or been uprooted within a public-use area; and/or

·         It is leaning at an angle greater than 30 degrees.

-Information from Sioux Falls Public Works

Mark Cotter with Public Works told me the city does take photos of the trees to prove they needed to be cut down, and sometimes, when staff takes down the broken or hanging branches, it pushes it into that territory of having more than 50 percent of the crown damaged or destroyed.