Forestry is responsible for the care and maintenance of all trees on City-owned property, including parks, open space, public spaces, streets and right-of-ways.
Wheat Ridge licenses tree care companies that meet requirements set by City code.
Caring for Snow-Damaged Trees
- Check for hazards. Examine surroundings to avoid making contact with downed utility lines or standing under broken, hanging branches.
- Assess the damage. If a tree is healthy overall and still possesses its leader (main upward branch), most major limbs and 50% or more of its crown, chances are good for a full recovery.
- Be careful knocking snow off branches. This may cause branches to break. To remove snow, gently push up on branches from below to prevent additional stress.
- Remove broken branches. This minimizes risk of decay and insects or diseases entering the wound. Prune at the branch collar - the point where a branch joins a larger one.
- Don't over-prune. With the loss of some branches, a tree may look unbalanced, but most trees quickly grow new foliage that hides bare areas.
- Don't do it all yourself. If the job requires running a chainsaw overhead, sawing from a ladder or removing large branches or entire trees, contact a licensed tree care company from the list above.
- Contact us if necessary. Trees on City-owned property are our responsibility.
For more information about tree care and protection, visit the Colorado State Forest Service
Wheat Ridge uses a geographic information system (GIS) tool to take inventory and conduct assessments of all trees on City-owned property. The inventory helps establish work plans and priorities by:
- Providing current reports on overall tree condition
- Identifying trees that need to be pruned or removed
- Revealing any systematic problems with disease or pests
- Identifying locations with sufficient space for future planting
- Identifying distribution of tree species according to height, size and other characteristics
What is Arbor Day?
Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization.
For more info visit the Arbor Day Foundation.
When is Arbor Day celebrated?
National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, however Colorado observes Arbor Day on the third Friday in April.
Newly planted trees along the Greenbelt are thirsty!
Show them some love by giving them a drink. Throughout the summer, you'll find buckets or watering cans at the trees that you can fill with creek water. Please return buckets before you leave. Thanks for loving our community trees!
Honor a Loved One with New Life!
Make a donation to have a tree planted in a City park to honor the memory of your loved one. You and your family are welcome to attend the tree planting and even help plant the tree if you wish.
Contact our Forestry Technician at 303-205-7556 to discuss planting location, tree species and cost. The Wheat Ridge Community Foundation will match your donation up to $125 per tree.
Memorial trees are typically planted in the spring or fall, dependent on plant availability and ground thaw. The tree will become part of the City's tree inventory and will be maintained by Wheat Ridge Forestry.
Insect Monitoring Traps in Parks
The City uses non-toxic pheromone traps to monitor insect pests that may cause damage to trees and shrubs in parks and right-of-ways. The traps survey a variety of problematic insects to help Forestry maintain healthy trees in our community. You may see these light weight cardboard or plastic traps varying in shape and size throughout City parks during the spring and summer months. All traps are labeled. Please do not disturb!
What is the Emerald Ash Borer?
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, is an exotic insect responsible for the death or decline of tens of millions of ash trees in more than 20 states and Canada. Native to Asia, the beetle most likely arrived in the U.S. in the 1990s, hidden in wood-packing materials commonly used for shipping.
EAB adults are approximately 1/2-inch long, with a metallic, emerald-green head/back and a coppery reddish-purple abdomen. The adult beetles consume ash foliage, but cause little damage to affected trees, which allows them to remain unnoticed by homeowners; they are generally only present May through September.
Females lay eggs in bark crevices, where they develop into worm-like larvae in the fall. The EAB larvae reside under the bark and feed on the inner bark of ash trees, girdling the tree and disrupting transportation of water and nutrients, much like mountain pine beetle larvae affect pines.
The tunneling and feeding under the bark is what eventually kills impacted trees. Once the larvae mature into adults in the spring, they emerge, leaving D-shaped exit holes. Adult beetles may fly up to a half-mile to infest new trees; however under certain conditions, are capable of flying up to several miles.
Potential Impacts in Colorado
In Colorado, EAB was detected for the first time in September 2013 in Boulder. As a non-native insect, EAB has no native predators to keep populations in check, and threatens all true ash species. As a result, the beetle poses a serious threat to Colorado's urban forests, where ash trees comprise an estimated 15 to 20 percent of all trees; the Denver Metro area alone has an estimated 1.45 million ash trees.
Ash Tree Identification
To detect and EAB infestation, it is important to first identify the tree in questions to ensure it is an ash tree. In Colorado, ash trees can be found in most communities, although many homeowners may not realize they have them.
Ash tree characteristics:
- Leaves are compound, which means multiple leaflets occur on a common stalk, and typically have five to nine leaflets
- Leaflets are smooth or finely toothed along the edges
- Seeds on female trees are paddle-shaped
- Branches and buds grow in pairs, directly opposite from each other
- Mature bark displays diamond-shaped ridges
Signs and Symptoms of EAB Infestation
- Sparse leaves or branches in the upper part of the tree
- D-shaped exit holes approximately 1/8-inch wide
- New sprouts on the lower trunk or lower branches
- Vertical splits in the bark
- Winding, S-shaped tunnels under the bark
- Increased woodpecker activity