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Tree preservation ordinance and tree tagging

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#1
We are currently writing a Tree Preservation and Landscape Ordinance and staff has agreed on its content except for the tree tagging requirement that is part of the required tree survey that developers submit prior to grading of the site. There are two items that I would like to bring up.

1. What do you require (if anything) for the tagging of trees [i.e., method of tagging the tree (i.e., ribbon, nails with a large head to etch a number on, galvanized nails with a "dog-like" tag attached, galvanized nail attached with wire, which has a tag attached to the wire), information associated with the tag (i.e., condition of tree, kind of tree, age of tree)].

2. Secondly, as land planners, and after the development has been completed, do you see a long-term benefit to having the trees permanently tagged?

My main concern when it comes to tree preservation is what visual impact does the tree have on its surrounds? When I do a site inspection, I am not going to want to inspect the trees tags. I am going to want to view the trees from a distance that are marked either for preservation or removal. The best way that I think this can be achieved is by tying a ribbon (preferrably fluorescent) around the tree. The response I got was, "What if the contractors get that mixed up with a tree that is to be cut down/removed?" My response is that if a tree is APPROVED to be cut down/removed that the tree should be spray-painted with a red "X", perhaps with an "X" on either side of its trunk.

Any thoughts from people who have thoughts/opinions they'd like to share would be greatly appreciated!
 

Suburb Repairman

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#2
I'm not a fan of driving nails into a tree since that does do some damage. You might ask them to do the ribbons, but to also write the numbers on them. They could also place "dog tags" on a wire wrapped around the tree. You want some way to tie each tree to a legend so you can say "tree number 1203 is a 23" white oak" and stuff like that. After all, part of the reason for the tree survey is to know if something is removed and if so, what the details on the tree were for penalties. The tags do not need to be permanent.
 
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In a town I work in often it is done with ribbon (surveyor's tape) marked with a number that corresponds to its description on the plan. Can be good for visualization purposes, as you say you need, but the marker tends to degrade over time. This can become a problem if the design development phase is drawn out and you go through several versions of the plan that affect different trees. For visualization purposes it may be more useful to you to have the limit of grading and tree removal outlined with tape. As for nails, I believe they recommend stainless steel to avoid impacts to tree health.

The long-term benefits to having the trees tagged that come to mind are for monitoring the overall tree cover in your town. For example, the site may change ownership and the new owner decides to cut the trees for their value as firewood or lumber. You want to have some proof that the trees were actually there. Air photos are good, but you wont know the species, health, caliper etc., so it is more difficult to put a & value on it. Another benefit is that it forces the designers of the site plan to be more conscious of the trees that need to be removed instead of just showing a woods edge line. If more desireable or notable trees are inventoried they are more likely to be worked around in the plan.

I'm not a big fan of spray paint for removals because neighbors see it, they complain, the plan gets revised to avoid the trees, and you are left with graffittied trees. You could state in your ordinance that trees TBR are to be marked with a certain color ribbon, and those to remain with another color.
 
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