Bryan K. Parks, Director
How Jefferson Parish Maintains Trees
Trees growing between the sidewalk and the street on parish owned right of ways and neutral grounds not only beautify the parish but also provide shade, reduce air and noise pollution and increase property values. Parish ordinance gives the Parkways Department authority over the trees, shrubs and plants growing on parish owned right of ways as well as on other parish properties. The Parkways Department uses available funds, manpower and equipment to accomplish essential tree work or to issue planting and tree work permits to citizens who wish to do the work themselves.
How Service Is Provided
The Parkways Department employs 47 full time people including an Arborist and a Horticulturist, who operate a variety of equipment, such as bucket trucks, chippers, and a stump grinder. This equipment enables the Parkways Department to respond to more than 400 calls a month in spring and summer and to accomplish the following services:
Tree Trimming and Removal
The parish prunes trees on rights of way and neutral grounds to remove hazardous deadwood, decayed, diseased and low limbs which interfere with traffic. Parish workers also remove dead, hazardous or diseased trees. Healthy trees will neither be topped nor removed unless they are obstructing traffic, the view of traffic or endangering the public or water or sewer lines.
Tree limbs, shrubs or other vegetation which limit visibility at intersections or around traffic signs will be trimmed to avoid traffic hazards. Limbs hanging low enough to be dangerous to the public will be removed also. When possible, the property owner will be notified and given the opportunity to correct the problem before parish crews are dispatched.
If the Parkways Department cannot trim or remove a tree on the rights of way as soon as a request is received, the property owner may obtain a permit to have the work done sooner. An inspector will investigate the request and write a permit which allows the property owner to have the tree work done by a qualified company at his/her own expense. The Parkways Department reserves the right to deny permission to remove a mature, healthy tree. A permit is required to plant a tree on the parish right of way, also.
The Parkways Department encourages tree planting by citizens. Although the parish does not plant trees on rights of way, an inspector will assist citizens in selecting the proper species and will issue a permit for them to do so. The Parkways Department is particularly interested in assisting groups to coordinate, select, obtain and mark planting sites for large numbers of trees to be planted in neighborhoods. Only long living, low maintenance trees may be planted along the rights of way on parish property. Site factors will determine which species may be planted. Wide medians may be planted with any approved tree species but narrow rights of way should receive only a species which will remain small at maturity to protect the curb and sidewalk from lifting roots. Large maturing shade trees should be planted on private property where possible rather than on narrow rights of way. Location of above and below ground utilities, distance from intersections and soil type, also, will determine which tree species may be planted. Recommended trees include bur oak, chinkapin oak, red oak, live oak, cedar, elm, lacebark elm, pecan, crape myrtle (single trunk), bald cypress, redbud, and many other desirable species. Prohibited trees include hackberry, sycamore, silver maple, mulberry, ash, cottonwood, mimosa, Siberian elm and other high maintenance trees. Species selection and permission to plant will be provided on an individual basis.
Frequently Asked Questions::
How do I report a parish tree problem?
Call 349-5800 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.; a work request will be written and an inspector will investigate the request to determine priority and manpower and equipment requirements. If there is a question or problem, you will be contacted. The work will be scheduled for a later date.
How long will it be before parish trees in front of my house are trimmed after I have called?
Parkways response to a tree request can be almost immediate in an emergency situation or may take months under circumstances of less priority. Cracked or broken limbs endangering the public, broken limbs in the street, or trees which have been blown over and are leaning against a house, vehicle or fence are considered emergencies. The waiting period varies during the year with the request backlog the greatest in the summer and fall months. Unexpected storms or hurricanes can cause lengthy delays also.
Will the parish grind out the remaining tree stump after cutting down the tree in front of my house?
A Parkways crew will grind the stumps out of the ground with a stump grinder.
A parish tree has uprooted my sidewalk. What can be done?
Repairing the sidewalk is the responsibility of the property owner.
My neighbor has a dangerous tree in the yard which could fall onto my property. Will the parish remove the tree or force the homeowner to remove it?
Trees growing on private property are the responsibility of individual property owners. The parish cannot remove a tree from private property. Therefore, neighbors must settle these matters themselves.