News from the City Government


City Completes Removal of 3,000th Dead Tree Ahead Of Schedule; 3,000 More to Be Removed Starting In July

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  • Program began in September, was to be completed in June
  • Recently approved funding means remainder of city’s 6,000 previously identified dead trees will be removed by late fall.


For the past six months, employees and contractors for the city’s general services department have been methodically removing about 100 dead trees from in front of homes across the city.  Today, in a tidy neighborhood near E. Seven Mile and Hayes, they took down the last of the 3,000 dead trees the City had targeted for removal.  The milestone, which wasn’t expected to be reached until this summer, completes the first of two waves to address the estimated 6,000 dead trees for which the City is responsible.  

Most of the trees are the victim of the emerald ash borer, which struck the nearly a decade ago.  Many of the dead trees also had just died of natural causes, such as old age.

dead tree map

See interactive map

“We find these dead trees in every neighborhood of the city,” said General Services Department Director Brad Dick. “The affect residents’ peace of mind and quality of life because they know that at any time they can fall.  Our goal is to get to all of the city-owned dead trees by the end of this year so residents can breathe easier.”

The city is responsible for trees that are between the side walk and curb of a property, as well as trees on other city property, such as parks and city owned vacant lots.  Trees that are on private property are the responsibility of the property owner, although DTE is responsible for the condition and pruning or removal of trees that are impacting or threaten to impact its power lines.

The removal thus far has had a positive impact.  During the intense wind storm of a few weeks ago, Dick’s crews removed 285 fallen trees, which is lower than in years past after similar storms.  Further, Dick said, the majority of the trees his workers removed were live trees that had fallen, not dead ones.

“Most of the trees that fell during that storm were pine trees, as opposed to dead trees or live threes that are just barren this time of year,” Dick said.  “Not only do pine trees have a canopy of needles year round that catch the wind, they have shallower roots and are more inclined to fall.”

Reporting dead trees

The assessment of the trees selected for the Dead Tree Removal Program was based on a city-wide survey done by the General Services Department. Although the survey is comprehensive, residents are encouraged to report any trees they feel are cause for concern by using the Improve Detroit App or by calling General Services Forestry at 313 871-5461.  Reports of trees should be made only for those that are located on city property, such as between the sidewalk and curb.  Privately trees that have fallen should be reported to the city only if is blocking a street and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass.
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