Glendale Urban Forester on Palm Trimming
and Tree Maintenance

A few weeks ago, I observed crews trimming fronds from palm trees lining Glenwood Road. The extra-long boom lifts sending brave men high into the air to trim the tall palms was a fascinating sight; I assumed it must also be a high-cost municipal budget item. After the fronds were cleared away, I contacted Glendale’s Urban Forester, Teresa Proscewicz, to ask some questions about Glendale’s policies on palms and other trees. She answered several questions via email, below:

How often does Glendale trim its parkway trees?
Every tree is inspected and pruned every six years. Pruning application may vary depending on the tree species. Some trees may appear like there were not pruned, some other trees appear like have been pruned heavier. Some trees are pruned in summer months and other trees only in cooler months. The pruning standards the City is adhering to are established by the Forestry Industry professional groups: the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards.

How often does Glendale trim its tall palm trees?
Every three years.

Is it more expensive to trim the tall palms?
The expense of trimming palm tree verses other trees is doubled by trimming them twice as often.

Where in the city are the tall palms located? How old are these palm trees?
Various locations, but there are few major streets that have row of palms: Glenoaks Blvd., Western Ave., Winchester Ave., Royal Blvd. Age estimate is 80+ years.

Do you use other contractors besides WCA?
The contractual agreement is only with WCA at the current time

How much does parkway tree trimming cost Maintenance Services each year?
That depends on many aspects and I will not be able to provide you a cost per tree per year that will be truly reflective of the trimming. We provide many other services such us young tree maintenance, tree well maintenance, mulching, delivery of mulching to local schools in addition to our basic tree maintenance which entails pruning of the canopy and roots for sidewalk repairs, removal of hazardous trees and planting of new trees.

Is there a separate cost for GWP? (For clearing utility lines, etc.)
Yes, please contact GWP for detail.

What initiatives does the Urban Forester have going on right now?The urban forester looks at a tree individually and City’s tree canopy as a whole. It is like seeing trees in the forest and seeing forest at the same time, and the inhabitants – our residents with all functions that interact and inter-depend on one another. Urban Forester works to provide direction for maintenance of healthy and vital tree canopy, therefore trees providing the City with benefits of cleaner air, better water retention, supporting healthy wildlife and esthetics. Urban Forester works with architects and city staff providing inputs on many improvement projects large and small, and on how to be sensitive to trees. A major need is to provide outreach to residents so information is available, and residents see trees more as an asset and not a nuisance. Understanding of how trees function and how they need to be maintained in order to provide their full potential of benefits will make trees a much more welcomed and cared component of our streetscape.

Editor’s note: I welcome beautiful trees and enjoy the southern California iconic look of Glendale’s tall palms, but palm trees in particular have several disadvantages as streetscape or parkway specimins. They provide little shade, and the reason Glendale trims them every three years instead of every six is probably to avoid the possibility of heavy, sharp, hazardous fronds detaching on their own and falling on unlucky pedestrians. In a residential setting, dried palm fronds are just as unwieldy even if they pose no overhead hazard. Once on the ground, they aren’t easy to get rid of. They are usually too large to fit in regular trash bins, and they are very difficult to cut up. Both Glendale and Los Angeles do not allow palm fronds placed in green waste recycling bins.