Storms & Tree Damage

May 20-21, 2022: With most trees fully leafed out, they may be prone to damage or failure due to heavy spring snow. Learn more about how to remove snow and manage fallen trees and branches.


Severe weather and heavy snow storms can cause downed trees, broken limbs, and large amounts of debris. After such events, property owners are responsible for*:

  • Cleanup of debris from trees on private property and from trees within the public right-of-way adjacent to their property.
  • Limbs on the ground are considered debris. Property owners can hire any licensed company to haul limbs away- for this type of work, the company does NOT have to be a licensed tree contractor.
  • Pruning needs of private property trees and trees within the public right-of-way adjacent to their property.  

For general questions about the condition of a public-right-of way tree, please contact Denver Forestry at forestry@denvergov.org.

Parkways
*
If you live on a designated Parkway, the Office of the City Forester will provide the necessary tree work for trees in the public right-of-way along the parkway but NOT on perpendicular streets. Adjacent property owners are not responsible for public right-of-way trees on the parkway but would need to address trees on other streets if they live on a corner or have an alley.

Damaged tree and broken branches:

The Office of the City Forester recommends that you make sure any tree care contractor is licensed and insured. Tree work can be very dangerous and you could be subject to serious injury if you attempt to perform this type of work without proper experience. Learn more about tree damage, limb removal, and cleanup after a storm:

Tips for removing snow from trees:

  • Be aware that accumulating snow, ice, or wind could cause limbs to break and fall at any time!
  • Check to make sure the tree is safe and clear of all utility lines prior to removing snow; DO NOT attempt to shake snow off a tree if a utility line is going through its branches or is within contact distance.
  • If the tree is clear of utility lines, use a broom to remove as much snow as possible from branches by brushing off or gently shaking. Avoid large, rapid movement as this could cause the limb to break
  • DO NOT attempt to climb tree or use ladder to reach higher limbs!

Downed trees and branches:

  • If emergency removal of a fallen tree or tree branch is needed to clear a street, call 311 to report the specific address of the location. The city will evaluate and prioritize the removal of the obstruction, and when necessary, the city will remove the encumbrance, and the cost of the work will be billed to the responsible property owner.
  • Property owners are responsible for pruning and cleaning up debris from trees located on private property and within the public right of way adjacent to their property. DO NOT relocate branches to parkways or other public areas.
  • Residents can visit www.denvergov.org/forestry for a list of licensed and insured tree care contractors

Disposal of tree branches:

  • Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure collects a limited number of branches as part of its monthly extra trash collection service to residents
  • Branches must be no larger than 4 inches in diameter, and they must be cut into lengths of 4 feet or less, bundled and tied, and weigh no more than 50 pounds 
  • Customers may set out up to 10 bundles of branches on their monthly large item pickup day
  • Denver residents can also drop off branches at the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off center located near East Cherry Creek Drive South and South Quebec Street. Hours of operation can be found on the city’s website at denvergov.org/recycling
  • Compost customers can put smaller branches in their green carts for weekly collection

Power lines/cables:

  • Stay clear of downed lines and report them immediately to Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-1999. If a power line is in contact with a tree or any other object, stay away and call 911 immediately.
  • Anyone who witnesses an emergency that requires an immediate response should always call 911. 

More Tree Damage Information:

Emergency Tree and Limb Removal

There are times when the safety of the public requires that tree work be completed immediately and Denver Forestry cannot allow time for the property owner to find a licensed tree contractor.

When a tree or limb is blocking safe access to the street or right-of-way, Denver Forestry has an on-call contractor remove the limb or tree and bills the property owner for the work.

Non-Emergency tree and Limb Removal

If a limb or tree is not interfering with the safe access of a street or right-of-way, the property owner may be given 24 hours to perform the work themselves or contract with a licensed tree contractor.

Should the property owner choose to allow the City to assist through an established on-call contractor, the cost of the work will be billed to the responsible property owner.

When performing any tree work yourself, always check for utility wires and assume they are live!

Smaller Tree Branch Disposal

For residents managing smaller limbs on their own, Solid Waste Management  provides disposal and recycling options. Learn more about options to dispose of branches and yard debris. 

Large Limb Disposal

For bundles more than 4 feet long & more than 50 pounds:

Public Works, Solid Waste Management may provide a tree debris drop-off site for residents only.

If a debris drop-off site is not available, property owners can dispose of tree debris at a landfill or hire a contractor to remove the debris.