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The Ann Arbor Tree Conservancy began as a small group of concerned residents in the westside neighborhood of Virginia Park. In early spring of 2009 the city began removing a number of large and healthy street trees along Virginia, Charlton, Abbott, and other nearby streets. In addition, much of the canopy along the entire length of Virginia Avenue was removed. This severe pruning significantly altered the beauty of the streetscape, and may likely affect the short and long-term health of the trees. These practices have been occurring in many neighborhoods across Ann Arbor.

With a little organization and research, we quickly became aware that Ann Arbor, proudly promoted everywhere as "Tree Town", has experienced significant changes in the staffing, organization, funding, and policies of it's forestry department over the past few years. We previously had a highly skilled and professional forestry department and city forester, who often made decisions by consensus. Trees were not removed as the result of one person surveying a neighborhood, making independent decisions as to which trees should be cut down, and marking them as such for the tree crews. Not only did the consensus method provide for several qualified opinions before it was deemed necessary to remove what was often a very large tree - - - the staff involved would consider and utilize methods such as root pruning, trimming, and cabling before removal was called for. "Homeowner requests" and "sidewalk heaving" were not automatic grounds for cutting down a tree - - as is often the case today. Moreover, we were alarmed and dismayed to find that Ann Arbor has no tree care ordinance - - something that thousands of communities across the country have in place to protect their urban forests.


Our short-term goal is to obtain a moratorium from city council with regard to unnecessary tree removals and severe canopy pruning - - and to ensure that the forestry department is now following the recommendations set forth by the recent tree survey by the Davey Company. This survey, costing $250,000.00, describes every street tree (health, size, location), along with recommendations from Davey for it's care.  Our long-term goal is to (a) be instrumental in developing a tree care ordinance for Ann Arbor, and (b) create a governing board to ensure implementation of and adherence to the ordinance.  Together, these will protect our urban forest by requiring that it be managed in a consistent and proper manner well into the future - - - rather than simply having unwritten or vague policies and practices that can change with each administration or set of elected officials.

News Coverage and Events


July 11, 2012

The Ann Arbor Chronicle

"NA Landmark tree dying

on South Fifth Ave"  

June 20, 2009

Ann Arbor News

"Ann Arbor Residents Question

Removal of Massive Maple Tree"  

June 20,2009

WLBY Radio

Gary Woodworth of AATC is interviewed by Lucy Ann Lance

of WLBY Radio

June 27, 2009

Ann Arbor Chronicle

"Ann Arbor Park Gets Movie Stimulus"and more tree issue info

June 29, 2009

Virginia Park Meeting with City of Ann Arbor

Copy of city's Power Point presentation from meeting at Slauson ( link from City of Ann Arbor

Forestry Department web page)

Comments and Questions from meeting at Slauson ( as prepared by city staff, link from City of Ann Arbor Forestry Department web page)

July 1, 2009

Ann Arbor Chronicle

"City and Residents to Make Tree Policy" (coverage of community meeting on June 29th at Slauson Middle School)

Recent and Pending Tree Removals



This Linden tree in front of 1465 Bemidji is 23 inches in diameter and 51-70 feet in height. Marked by city for removal due to sidewalk damage. Homeowners reportedly told they would have to bear cost of root pruning,sidewalk re-routing, or root barrier walls if the tree is to be saved. The Davey Tree Report recommends "routine pruning" for this "large tree in fair condition".

UPDATE: On September 24, the city installed new sidewalk, replacing enough sections to create sufficient rise/slope to accommodate the roots. We are extremely pleased and appreciative that the city was willing and able to save this large and beautiful tree.


Stump in front of 1514 Hillridge. This was a 19 inch diameter Norway Maple, 51 to 70 feet in height. It appears that it was removed due to sidewalk damage. (Note new sidewalk). The Davey Tree Report shows this tree was surveyed on April 6, 2009 and recommended "routine pruning" for this "large tree in fair condition". Tree was removed sometime in June or July.



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Last updated: 07/27/12