- Public Works
- Forestry Operation
Trees removal in Williamsburg Park
Unfortunately, approximately 85 percent of the trees in Williamsburg Park (shown below) are dead or dying. They are likely to fall during the next 10 years, posing a safety hazard, potentially leaving the park denuded of its lawn and canopy character. Removing trees one at a time is costly and inefficient, and the process is often hampered by the saturated soils on this slope, which makes equipment access difficult.
Nearly all trees slated for removal are black cherry or black locust trees, which often rot from the inside out, making identification of hazards difficult. The Mt. Lebanon Commission appropriated funding for a complete removal, stump grinding and re-planting plan developed by members of the 2020 Parks Advisory Board. See more information....
Click the map at the bottom of the page to be directed to an interactive map of current, active forestry requests.
The forestry division of the Mt. Lebanon public works department maintains municipal street trees that were planted within the street right-of-way by the municipality as well as trees on municipal property such as parks and traffic islands. Tree maintenance consists of pruning, replacement planting, removal health checks and pest control. The municipality maintains over 10,000 trees along streets throughout the municipality. The forestry division has three employees that are dedicated to providing this service. The department makes every effort to provide this service in the quickest and most efficient manner possible while maintaining a high standard for the work that is completed. The following are some of the questions that are frequently asked by property owners.
Q. Why does it take so long to get a municipal tree trimmed after I request the service?
- The public works department receives a high volume of calls from property owners requesting different types of services related to the maintenance of municipal trees. On average, at least 500 requests are submitted to the department every year for some type of tree maintenance issue and the vast majority of requests are for pruning trees. Certain trees can only be safely pruned during specific times of the year, limiting the window that work can be completed. For example, oak trees should only be pruned when they are dormant. This practice reduces the chance of contracting oak wilt disease. Due to these limitations, oak trees that require pruning may not be serviced for at least a year or even two depending on when the request is submitted. Requests also vary widely in the amount of time that they take to complete. If a request is submitted to trim a tree or trees in front of a property, one property may have one or two smaller trees that can be pruned in a few hours while other areas of the municipality have several mature trees along the property which may take an entire day or multiple days to complete. This variance in time required plays a role in scheduling and completing the service request for each property.
Q. How do I know if my request is still active and where my request is in relation to other requests?
- The municipality has started using a GIS system to plan maintenance activities associated with municipal trees. By navigating to the link below, you can view a map of the municipality along with symbols that designate all current active forestry - related requests in our work order database. You can navigate to your property and click on the symbol that represents the request that you submitted. Take note of the service request ID number that will be displayed in the pop - up box that appears. You can then click on the attribute table button located on the lower right corner of your display. This will open a table that lists all active requests in all categories on the map. You can then left click on the top of the column named “date of request” and sort the list ascending by date. You can scroll down to find your request based on the service request ID number. This will give you a general idea of how many requests have been submitted before your request. The data points that are displayed on the map are updated as requests are completed. Work requests that have been resolved will no longer be visible on the map.
Q. How do I submit a request and what do I do if I am concerned about the health of a tree?
- Requests can be submitted by calling the public works main office at 412-343-3403 or online at mylebo.mtlebanon.org. If you call outside of regular business hours and leave a message, please make sure to state your name, address, contact number and as much detail as you can provide regarding the reason for your request. If you previously submitted a request that is still active and something has changed or presents a hazard, please call the number listed above to amend your existing request. Someone will visit the tree to assess the risk and based on that evaluation, the forester will determine if the issue must be addressed more quickly. Please do not call for a service multiple times or overstate some type of concern that you may have with a tree. Every call is taken seriously so someone does check the issue as it is reported. Repeated calls or overstating an issue does not get the work completed any faster, it just uses time and resources that could be better used to complete other work that is already scheduled. This leads to less efficiency and a larger backlog of requests.
Q. When will my service request be completed?
- The goal of the forestry division is to complete every service request as quickly as possible. Determining when a particular request will be completed is somewhat complicated and to some extent, not always possible. We make every attempt to complete the requests as they have been submitted chronologically. However, since some requests can only be completed at certain times of the year, they may be completed after more recent requests. We also analyze each request as it is submitted to determine if individual requests should be handled as a priority due to safety concerns. There may be times when a request is completed the same day that it is received based on these evaluations. A complete list of each outstanding service request is maintained as part of our work order database. This list is evaluated on a daily basis based on the factors previously listed, and work is scheduled based on the current list of requests.
Q. How often are municipal trees pruned?
- This varies depending on the species and age of a particular tree. The growth rate of an oak tree is slow so maintenance pruning may not be needed for up to ten years after an oak is pruned. Other trees which have a faster growth rate, such as maple trees, must be pruned more frequently.
Q. How do I know if a tree on my property is a municipal tree?
- Most trees planted within the street right - of - way are municipal street trees. The most common width of the street right - of - way is 50 feet. The edge of the street right - of - way will be 25 feet from the center of the street. The municipality does not maintain any evergreen trees along municipal streets. Even if a tree is located within the street right of way, it may not be a municipal tree. If a tree was not planted by the municipality, it is not maintained by the forestry department. Trees and vegetation planted on rear easements, utility right - of - ways and along paper or unopened streets are also considered private and not maintained by the municipality. If you are in doubt as to the ownership of a tree, you can call the public works office at 412-343-3403.
Q. Can I have a municipal tree pruned or removed at my own expense?
- The municipality does permit property owners to hire a professional tree service to prune or trim trees. The property owner or tree service must contact the public works office and submit an application for a tree trimming permit. There is no charge for this permit, but the tree service must adhere to municipal pruning standards while providing the service. The trimming service will be instructed on how the tree should be pruned to preserve the health and safety of the tree. Removal of any municipal tree is not permitted without the consent of the public works department. Our main goal is to maintain a mature stand of municipal street trees along municipal streets.
Q. If a tree is removed, can I choose not to replace it?
- It is the policy of the public works department to replace every tree that is removed unless there is a conflict with a utility, concern with visual obstructions, or space limitations due to other plants or trees in close proximity to the planting site.
Q. What should I do if a tree limb or tree falls on a power line or is blocking a street.
- Make sure that you stay a safe distance from the fallen limb or tree and call 911 to report the issue. There may be energized lines involved which do not always generate sparks or a fire. The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department has the resources to determine if the area is safe for access. After an initial assessment of the situation, the fire department will determine if the power company or the public works department needs to be called to remove the limb or tree that has fallen.
Click the map below to be directed to an interactive map of forestry requests.