Chilly temperatures and several inches of snow did not hold back NMRWA staff and volunteers from a productive tree pruning workshop at Kelly Elementary School on Saturday March 7th. Volunteers from Bartlett Tree Expert’s McDonald office performed some much needed pruning on trees planted at Kelly School in 2012 and 2013. These trees were planted as part of Rooted in Wilkinsburg: 500 Tree Initiative.
Volunteers were instructed in proper structural pruning which includes thinning for good branch spacing, low limb elevation and removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Additionally, proper limb removal via the three-step cut and branch collar locating was discussed. You can learn more about these tree pruning methods here. Tools were provided and the team went to work. An impressive 61 trees were pruned over the two hour session. Coffee, hot cocoa and donuts were enjoyed in celebration of the volunteers’ efforts.
As these ‘500 Tree Initiative’ trees continue to age, as well as other newly planted trees in the watershed, more tree pruning maintenance will be needed. If you are interested in volunteer events such as this, please consider participating in the Tree Tender Class on March 21, 2015 at the Upper Environmental Charter School. You can register for the class here.
Several years ago, Swissvale Council approved a resolution establishing a Shade Tree Advisory Committee consisting of 3-5 resident volunteers appointed by Council. Since this resolution, the Committee has become inactive. Swissvale’s urban forest is not only an asset to the community, but also areas downstream of Swissvale, including the Nine Mile Run Watershed, Frick Park, and the Monongahela River. With the support of Borough Council, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association is assisting Swissvale in community outreach and reformation of this committee.
Based on 2010 data, tree canopy cover analyzed by the US Forest Service for Allegheny County found that approximately 39% of Swissvale’s land area is covered with tree canopy. That’s pretty good, but it can be better! There are many streets in Swissvale that could benefit from planting more street trees for shade, stormwater retention, and aesthetics. Maintaining trees for today while planting for tomorrow provides a connection for residents to the community now and in the future.
The Committee will advise the Swissvale Borough in managing the street trees of the urban forest by prioritizing maintenance, acquiring grants for tree plantings, assisting in community outreach, and drafting a tree ordinance. There are no minimum requirements for membership in the Committee. Swissvale seeks residents with a passion for their community and its trees as they relate to the preservation and expansion of the Borough’s stock of trees. Any and all members of the Swissvale community are encouraged to participate in the meetings and activities of the Committee.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Shade Tree Advisory Committee, you may contact Jared Manzo, Greenlinks Coordinator, at or 412-371-8779 x116 or Councilperson Darrell Rapp at or 412-271-7101.