Citizen Pruners

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About Citizen Pruner

For many communities, the tree pruning cycle runs over the course of many years (some up to a 15 year cycle!) By taking part in pruning, you are assisting your city to take care of the smaller trees that can pruned from the ground level. Your community's city staff are focused on large tree removals and mature trees that need specialized equipment to reach and prune. Smaller trees are often last priority because there is less risk of damage due to their size. 

Why is pruning important?
First of all, pruning is important to ensure that tree grows properly and is set up for success as it matures. Secondly, trees need to be pruned for public safety. By pruning, we can assure that pedestrians and cars have clear sight lines and that there is no risk of branches harming or falling on the public. 

You must be wondering, what does pruning entail exactly? Great question! Here is a list of things you may help do as you volunteer for your community:

  • Understanding restricted species and when to prune those species.
  • Information about good and bad branch attachments.
  • Remove sprouts and suckers from trees
  • Help remove deadwood or broken branches from young trees
  • Train trees to grow with one central leader through developmental pruning
  • Raise the crown of smaller trees where cars or pedestrians may run into the lower branches

Your next question might be, what does the training cover?

The training you attend will cover all of the information mentioned above and how to make proper pruning cuts that will limit the opportunity for decay to enter the tree and to ensure proper structure as the tree matures.

You will get to practice your pruning skills outdoors with a group.

What is a restricted species?
A restricted species is a tree that is known to be affected negatively by a pest or pathogen during certain times of the year. By understanding what these species are and what can result in their decline of health or death (oak wilt, Dutch Elm Disease, etc.), we can learn to prune these species at the correct time of year to drastically reduce the chance that something could happen. Any tree that is not a restricted species can be pruned year-round.

But what about the training? How long will that take?
The pruning training takes roughly 3-4 hours so that we can take time to go over the safety basics, why you should properly prune trees, and different types of removals and cuts to make. From there, we will head out to the field to practice what we've learned to make you more comfortable as your go out in small groups to prune in the future.

Does the pruning training cost money? 
It is free because you are a volunteer! 

What about the time commitment after training?
You are a volunteer, so that is up to you. Any amount of time you can offer lends a great deal of help to your community to ensure a healthier urban forest. Trees need help to grow properly and having you volunteer can help ensure that happens!

Citizen Pruner Resources

Citizen Pruner Resources

Already a volunteer? Looking for resources? Check out the tabs below to find helpful information regarding the Citizen Pruner program and training topics!

Citizen Pruner Training Presentation

Citizen Pruner Training Presentation

Citizen Pruner Manuals

Citizen Pruner Field Form

Citizen Pruner Field Form

Below you can find the Citizen Pruner Field Form to utilize when pruning trees in your community. It is important to track pruning information so your community knows where work has been done so trees can receive equal pruning care and are not stressed too much. Please, only check the the type of removal that you were trained on and completed in the field. 

Once you fill out the field form, you will return that to your city contact who will then relay that information to the University. The University of Minnesota is then able to relay the benefits of having volunteers conduct pruning on young trees so funding may continue for these programs. If you have any questions about the form, please contact your community contact or info@mntca.org.

Reporting Your Hours

Reporting Your Hours

Click here to submit your hours on the MnTCA website!

Pruning Fundamentals

Pruning Fundamentals

Click here for information regarding pruning tools of the trade, how to prune, and poor pruning cut examples.

Restricted Species

Restricted Species

  • Oaks
  • Elms
  • Ash
  • Honeylocust
  • Crabapple and Mountain Ash

For more information regarding pruning restricted species, click here.