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Parks and Recreation

Contact Information
Parks & Recreation Department
City Services Center (CSC)
500 15th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Phone: 319-286-5566
Fax: 319-540-8843


Mon - Fri, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Department Contacts
Principles of Pruning: When and Why

Principles of Pruning: Included bark

Principles of Pruning: Making a good cut

Fall Tree Care

Fall tree care is an investment in your home and environment. Here are some useful tips to limit the damage of our Iowa winter weather that can have over 50 degree swings in a matter of a few days.

1) Cold Stress-Extreme temperatures can cause the bark of trees to crack and spread, allowing an opportunity for disease and insect infestation. It is advisable to wrap the bark of a young tree for the first few winters with one of a number of commercial products.

2) Pruning-Don't prune trees too early, it will promote new growth. Wait until the weather is cool enough that you are sure the tree is dormant. Trim Oak and American Elm trees in winter to limit the spread of disease.

3) Winter Drought-When the ground is frozen it is difficult for moisture to be absorbed. This may be somewhat alleviated by placing a deep layer of mulch around the tree base. It is also a good practice to water your trees until the ground freezes.

4) Ground Breaks-If you have a young tree in a position to get the brunt of snow drifts or strong winds, make a wind break. This may be done by simply attaching a length of burlap between two posts.

5) Leaf Mulch-This can save money. Gather all of the fallen leaves and run them over several times with a lawn mower, making sure they are cut finely. This is a good, economical way to help not only trees, but other plants as well.

6) Salt-Using salt for snow and ice removal on your property can have devastating effects on your trees. When the snow or ice melts it carries the salt into the water, which ends up on your tree roots.

7) Snow and Ice-If clinging on a young tree these can be a problem. Gently brush away excess snow, be careful, pulling ice may damage bark. The weight of snow may change the contour of young limbs, if left unchecked for an extended period.

8) Unstake-Most young trees over a year old don't need to remain staked as the guy-wires may damage bark when the tree sways in the wind.

9) Aerate-Aerate the root zone around trees, and remove any grass growing close to the tree base. Grass takes nutrients needed by the tree.

10) Spray-Spray an anti-desiccant on smaller evergreens, it should help lessen the damage of winds and sun.

A tree is not a short term investment. If done right, that young tree will add value to your home, cut heating and cooling costs, provide food/shelter for birds or animals and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment.

Links for tree care and required permits: 
Right of Way Tree Pruning Permit 
Wood Cutting Permit
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