LOS ANGELES – Responding to concerns raised by neighbors about improper tree trimming in West Los Angeles, Councilmember Mike Bonin today submitted a motion to the City Council asking for a careful review of the procedure for issuing contracts to private companies to trim trees in Los Angeles. 

Read the full motion below.


Tree_Trimming_with_caption.jpgIn 1993, the City Council adopted the “Street Tree Policies.” The Policies address goals and strategies for maximizing the quality of life and environmental benefits provided by trees – among them was using established Best Management Practices (BMP) and sustainable urban forestry principles. Proper maintenance is essential for the longevity and efficacy of trees.

The “Street Tree Policies” require that all street tree pruning be in compliance with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 standards, which both prohibit “topping” or “heading.” Additionally, the “Rules and Regulations” when applying for a permit with the Bureau of Street Services for private tree pruning dictates that “All street trees shall be pruned in accordance with the International Society of Arboriculture ‘Tree Pruning Guidelines’, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI A-300) ‘Tree, Shrub, and Other Woody Plant Maintenance Standard Practices.’”

Recent reports from residents in West Los Angeles, however, indicate that city contractors working on tree trimming projects have used improper pruning procedures (commonly known as “topping,” “heading,” or “hatracking”) for Jacaranda and Koelreuteria trees on Colby, Barry and Purdue streets. These residents are rightly concerned that the practice of hatracking will harm trees and reduce the benefits they provide people in their neighborhoods.

As the City of Los Angeles strives to become a more sustainable and efficient city, attention must be paid to the original green infrastructure – the hundreds of thousands of trees living throughout Los Angeles. When properly maintained, trees act as a tremendous natural boon to urban sustainability and efficiency – capturing water, providing shade, protecting public health from extreme heat and mitigating climate change by removing harmful carbon pollution from our air.

I THEREFORE MOVE that the Bureau of Street Services’ Urban Forestry Division be instructed to report to the City Council regarding its procedure for issuing contracts for tree trimming work, and on what measures are in place to ensure trimming and pruning work done by contractors and permitted residents complies with the City’s established street tree guidelines and policies.

I FURTHER MOVE that the City Attorney be requested to report back to the City Council regarding any recommended action, including but not limited to monetary fines and prohibition from being selected for future contracts that could be instituted by the Council to help ensure contractors properly maintain and prune street trees in Los Angeles.