The City of Waterloo undertakes Street Tree pruning and elevating on an on-going basis we do this because: 

The City has requirements on Clearance standards:
1)       Lowest branch must clear public sidewalk by at least 2.7 meters
2)       The lowest branch reaching over the roadway must have no less than 3.7 meters of clearance measured at the curb line
 
Small trees are often not at a stage to be elevated to the heights noted above, however by pruning at an earlier stage the tree is able to recover quicker and not go into stress compared to pruning larger branches at a later developmental stage of the tree. Also the Cityuses structural pruning techniques to correct any growth defects, co-dominant leaders,  crossing branches, V-attachments to trunk which will eventually become a very weak branch and could result in branch failure. Correction in form at an early stage results in a healthier more structurally sound tree as the tree matures and less corrective pruning when tree is mature.
 
The primary reason for elevating over sidewalk/roadway is to prevent obstructions to people (eg. poking them in eyes) and vehicles striking and breaking branches, but while staff are elevating they also are there to prune the trees so we can attain a structurally sound tree which will aid in future maintenance and reduce branch failures. It should be noted as well that it takes at least 4-5 years before we complete the pruning cycle around the city so staff prune accordingly to this to attain proper clearance and any correctional pruning required at the time of pruning.
 
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