All requests for tree services such as trimming, planting, cutting, etc. should be called into the DPW at 414-769-2216. Your request will be referred to the City Forester, who by ordinance is in charge of Cudahy's urban forest.
How to Take Care of a New Tree:
The City hangs information on a property owner’s door regarding the care of a new tree at the time the new tree is planted. Care of the new tree is extremely important during its first year. In the past the City has always asked the property owners that receive a new tree to water the tree however, this has become problematic as the tree is either over-watered or not watered at all. So the City will be installing "watering bags" on trees planted and filling these bags with water during their first year. The bags will be removed by the public works department after the tree has been established. Property owners are reminded that weed whackers should not be used around the trunk. The damage caused when the bark is stripped will kill the tree. If you have any questions about tree care or did not receive the information regarding your new tree please contact the DPW at 414-769-2216 or click on "report a problem" at the left of the page and email us.
Why is the City Losing So Many Trees?
In 2010 the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the Emerald Ash Bore Beetle in Cudahy. At the time the City looked at feasible options on how to combat this beetle to save the City’s Ash trees. Unfortunately, the Ash trees planted some 40 years ago were not of the type and quality conducive to long-term sustainability as parkway trees. So in 2012 the decision was made that the City would begin the task of removing Ash trees on a street by street basis using DPW forces. By 2016 the beetle had infested more than 1000 trees. During that same time the City noticed that the maple trees were suffering from maple decline. Maple decline results when the tree suffers from poor growing conditions such as soils saturated with decades of road salt. In the past decade the City has lost 28% of its street trees to disease and pests.
When Does the City Do Tree Trimming?
Tree trimming is typically done during the winter months when trees and pests are dormant. Trimming a tree during warmer months when disease and pests are active puts the tree at a higher risk of dying, as well as, shortening that tree's life. The Department has outlined five (5) tree trimming areas within the City. Each year the Department focuses on one (1) of the tree trimming areas, whereas, all City trees in that specific area are evaluated and trimmed, if needed. Tree trimming typically occurs between December and March. In order to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, DPW crews are cross trained. This allows the ability to perform multiple roles. So Tree Trimming Crews also participate on Snow Plow Crews and vice versa. Therefore, winter weather plays a critical role in determining how much tree trimming can be completed each year. In order to ensure the safety of our community and depending on weather, Crews may be diverted from tree trimming to focus on snow plowing activities. To view the 2020 - 2024 Tree Trimming Route Map, click here.
Why is the City Losing So Many Trees?
Like many communities across the Midwest, the City of Cudahy has lost 1360 trees or 17% of its urban forest to disease and pest infestations in the past 3 years. In the past decade the City has lost roughly 2290 trees or 28 % over the last decade. The major cause in the past 3 years has been due to the Emerald Ash Borer beetle which has infested nearly 1740 Ash trees. By the end of 2019 the City will have removed most of the ash trees from the street parkways. But the beetle isn’t the only culprit to have wreaked havoc on the City’s street trees. Maple decline is becoming more problematic and has resulted in as many maples being removed as ash these past few years. Maple decline is caused by road salt and poor urban soil conditions. Maple trees make up 38% of the City’s urban forest as ash made up about 22%.
Prior to 2016 the City removed about 100 trees on average and replaced about 100 trees each Spring. However, from 2017 to 2019 with the onset of the beetle and maple decline, the City was faced with the large scale removal of dead & compromised trees that strained the budget and did not allow for the replacement of those trees that were lost. So it will take 10 to 15 years to replant the City’s urban forest given the budget limitations the Department faces. Property owners asked how they could help so the Department developed a donation program. The program works two ways. A property owner who recently lost a tree and who doesn’t want to wait several years to get a replacement tree can donate $200 and a tree will be planted in front of their property within a year. The other approach is to have any one or group donate money to have trees planted within the street rights of way. The individual or group can select a location and choose from the list of approved trees. These trees and locations will then be added onto the upcoming planting list. The $200 cost pays for the cost of the tree and the labor to install.
So if you are interested in donating to a growing cause, please donate for a street tree. It’s easy to do. You can fill out the Tree Donation Statement and mail it with your check to the Department of Public Works. The City Arborist will notify you and give you a list of trees to select from. The Department will put the tree on the Spring planting, or if after March 1st, will put you on the Fall planting.