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[ Up ] [ Natural Target Pruning ] [ Basic Pruning Techniques ] [ Pruning Young Trees ] [ Pruning of Mature Trees ] [ Specialty Tree Pruning ] [ Pruning Specifications ] [ Virginia Right Of Way Trimming ]
Department of Transportation - Policy for Tree & Brush Trimming
recently received this document because of the frequent butchering of right-of-way trees by mechanical trimming (boom bush-hog). We believe
it offers excellent
considerations for specifications.)
To preserve the natural beauty of our roadsides while effectively addressing
maintenance and safety issues.
and Brush Removal on the Right of Way:
Trees in one or more of the following conditions may be removed from the right
of way with appropriate authorization for the purposes of safety, slope
reclamation, or maintenance:
that are dead, in an advanced stage of decline, or are significantly damaged.
Those that are affected by pest infestation and are a significant threat to surrounding healthy trees.
Those located above the ditch line or beyond the break of a fill slope.
Those that create an unacceptable risk/safety hazard to the motoring public such as blocking
sight distance, situated within the clear zone, obscuring signs, or leaning toward the roadway in such a manner that could cause the tree to fall into the roadway or damage an existing asset.
Those species that are invasive or not native such as Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven).
Those blocking potential scenic vistas.
Those that will negatively impact assets including, but not limited to, right of way fences, concrete or paved ditches, headwalls, wing walls, bridge abutments, and curbs and sidewalks.
Trees not in one of the previous categories shall not be removed unless approved by the District Environmental Manager.
Dogwood trees shall not be removed unless approved by the District Environmental Manager.
No vegetation may be removed within a riparian buffer unless approved by the District Environmental Manager.
When removing trees, they will be cut flush with the ground where possible and stump treatment should be
Trees of Special Interest:
Trees designated by local, state, or federal government to be of "Historical, environmental, or social importance" shall not be removed unless approved by the District Environmental Manager.
When removing brush, it will be cut flush with the ground where possible and stump treatment should be applied.
Pruning on the Right of Way:
The current version of ANSI A300, ANSI Z133.1 and ISA Tree Pruning Guidelines shall govern vegetative pruning.
A boom-axe shall not be
used to prune trees of shrubs.
In any pruning operation,
the natural form of the tree should be maintained when possible.
No more than 25% of a
tree’s foliage shall be removed during any one growing season.
No branches are to overhang
the roadway below 20 feet and no live branches are to be cut above 20 feet
unless it is necessary to provide adequate sight distance, roadway
clearance, and/or minimize known cold spots.
Trees that do not affect
line of sight, interfere with vertical or horizontal clearance requirements,
or contribute to pavement cold spots should not be pruned.
Trees should not be side
walled or topped. Removal may be an alternative.
Branches should be cut
close to the tree trunk or parent limb without cutting into the branch
collar or leaving a stub. Cuts should not be made flush with the trunk and
should not injure the branch collar.
Clean cuts shall be made at
Larger branches must be
pre-cut to prevent splitting or peeling the bark. The three-cut method will
be used. The resulting stub shall be cut to the branch collar.
Mechanical trimming may be
authorized on selected rural secondary routes that meet the criteria for
mechanical trimming. The District Environmental Manager may authorize
mechanical trimming in compliance with this policy and the following
The height of cuts will not
exceed 20 feet.
Mechanical trimming will
not be used on Virginia byways, scenic highways or on roads with major
Mechanical trimming will
not be used if opposed by the public or property owners.
Mechanical trimming will be
used only on roads with low to moderate traffic counts relative to system
The District Environmental
Manager will be responsible for designating those routes where mechanical
trimming will be authorized.
Manual trimming to achieve
ANSI 300 Standards shall be conducted within seven workdays of mechanical
All cut vegetation shall be
chipped, beneficially used, or immediately removed and disposed of in
accordance with the Solid Waste Management Regulations (9 VAC 20-80-10 et
seq.) of the Virginia Waste Management Board.
Wood can remain on
the right of way outside of the clear zone for no longer than seven days.
Wood should be cut into lengths that can easily be handled by one
may be left on a fill slope, as authorized by the District Environmental
use of climbing irons or spurs is positively forbidden in any tree not being
removed unless they are to be used to rescue a climber.
Limited crown raising of
trees may be allowed, as authorized by the District Environmental Manager.
Dead wooding and crown
cleaning is an accepted pruning practice.
Trees designated to be of
historical, environmental, or social importance shall not be pruned unless
approved by the District Environmental Manager.
Vegetation on Private
Trees and shrubs located on
private property adjacent to the right of way that pose an unacceptable
safety risk to the traveling public may be pruned or removed with the
property owner’s written permission. The following processes shall be
Determine if pruning can b
e performed in compliance with current ANSI A300 Standards without entering
onto private property.
cannot be accomplished:
Contact the property
owner(s) to request that he/she perform the desired work.
If the property owner(s) is
not willing to perform the desired work, written permission must be
requested from the property owner(s) for VDOT to enter and perform any
Procedure for performing
work on private property:
Send a letter to the
property owner(s) notifying him/her of the potential hazard to the motoring
public and request permission to perform the work at state expense.
Include a copy of the Right
of Entry Agreement for Vegetation Management to be signed by both the
property owner(s) and a VDOT representative prior to entry upon the
After the work is
completed, document the comment section regarding completion of the work and
attach pre- and post-work photographs of the site.
Should a property owner(s)
refuse VDOT entry to the property, the district shall notify the State
In those situations when
the property owner will not authorize access to the property, pruning will
not extend beyond VDOT property and, therefore, may not be in accordance
with current ANSI A300 Standards.
State Maintenance Engineer shall approve revisions to this procedure.