Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Portland Pruners Program

Portland Pruners Program

What is the Portland Pruners Program?

Portland Pruners Program is a resource for volunteers interested in pruning young street trees in Portland.

Many of Urban Forestry’s volunteers have spent years learning to prune young trees throughout Portland. The Portland Pruners Program is intended to make it easier for volunteers to use their pruning and leadership skills to make an impact in their own neighborhoods.

The program includes an orientation training with Urban Forestry. After that, program participants will have access to the resources needed to lead independent, self-organized street tree pruning events. The program will make it easier for volunteers to prune young street trees in their neighborhoods, which helps promote proper tree structure, tree health, and clearance from the streets and sidewalks.


How can I prune street trees in my neighborhood?

In Portland, the care and upkeep of streets trees is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Both written permission from the adjacent property owner and a pruning permit issued by Urban Forestry is required for most street tree pruning. The Portland Pruners Program streamlines this process, provides pruning tools and equipment, and brings people together to prune street trees. 


How the Portland Pruners Program works

The program is a resource for experienced pruners to take a leadership role in organizing and leading a small group to prune their young neighborhood street trees. Your group can be you and your one friend pruning trees together or something your Tree Team could do together.

Here are the steps to getting involved with the program:

  1. Gather a group of people interested in joining you to prune young street trees in your neighborhood. All those interested in pruning young trees and who have previous pruning experience should apply for the program.

  2. Apply to the program through the following application which includes information on:Locate suitable young street trees you want to prune

    • Your neighborhood

    • Those who want to lead small groups

    • How you gained your pruning experience

    • The type of pruning project you are intending to do

    • How you will receive the required orientation training 

  3. Get permissions from property owners ahead of the time or day of your pruning event

  4. Notify Urban Forestry of the date(s) and locations you want to prune

  5. Coordinate picking up the pruning tools you want to borrow from Urban Forestry

  6. Prune only the street trees you selected and received permission to prune.

  7. Return tools and information on the trees you pruned to Urban Forestry

  8. Make a difference in your community!

Portland Pruners Program

Portland Pruners Program

When will the orientation training happen?

Program orientation will be scheduled as needed by participant interest. Interest should be directed to or by calling 503-260-0817. Our program leader will coordinate a meeting with you and walk through the 1.5-hour orientation and program requirements. 

Please review the Portland Pruners Program Overview and complete the Portland Pruners Program Interest Form.

Portland Pruners Program

Program requirements

We want to ensure that our street trees are being pruned by those with the proper knowledge and skills. This program is a resource for experienced pruners looking to use the skills they possess to make a positive impact in their neighborhood.

 Pruning experience and knowledge required for program participants can come from one of these sources:

  • ISA Certified Arborist with pruning experience
  • Participated in previous Urban Forestry pruning workshops
  • Participated in the Community Tree Care program
  • Neighborhood Tree Steward Alumni
  • Participated in other pruning training (provide Urban Forestry with the training details)

Complete the program orientation training which covers:

  • Review permissions needed to prune street trees
  • Understand how to get permission to prune street trees
  • How the program permitting will work
  • How to borrow pruning tools and materials from Urban Forestry
  • How to record and report trees pruned back to Urban Forestry
  • How to be a pruning leader

Do quality control on the trees you or your group pruned.

  • Program participants are responsible for the pruning done by everyone in their group
  • Make sure everyone pruning has the skills and knowledge to meet City and industry standards of pruning

Care for and return all tools and materials borrowed from Urban Forestry.

Have all the pruned trees pass a quality control audit by Urban Forestry. 

Why Pruning young trees is important

 Proper pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Trees that receive the care and pruning while they are young will require less corrective pruning as they mature.

This is important in Portland where many of our street trees may not get regular pruning as they grow. Pruning them when they are young helps them grow correctly and provide many benefits for the city.

Young tree pruning resources

There is an art and science in pruning young trees. Getting good at pruning and teaching others to prune comes from understanding how trees grow and practice practice practice. The following resources give good information on how to prune young trees.