Montgomery Parks Arboriculture staff oversees the Historic, Significant and Champion Tree Program aimed at preserving significant trees on Parkland to ensure their long-term health and survival. Currently, there are more than 200 special trees in this collection.
Historic, significant and champion trees are an important part of Montgomery County’s landscape. We are the proud home to several county and state champion trees. Of note, the largest tree in Maryland is a Sycamore located on parkland in Dickerson Conservation Park. The Montgomery County Forestry Board maintains the Champion Tree List for Montgomery County. If you would like to nominate a tree for champion status or would like more information on the board, click here.
During Park Development and Renovation Projects on Parkland, our Urban Foresters give expert arboricultural advice from the design phase through the construction phase of projects to protect and enhance the health of Park trees. Construction projects have the potential to cause many adverse conditions to a tree’s growing environment including:
Park Urban Foresters work closely with utility companies conducting work on parkland to ensure that trees are protected while still allowing utilities to do necessary work to continue to provide services to the public. Power companies such as PEPCO, BGE and Potomac Edison have many miles of electrical transmission and distribution lines that run through parkland. Before any work is done on parkland our Urban Foresters meet with their staff to approve proposed work. As the landowner we approve which trees need to be removed or just pruned and provide guidance on how this work should be done in order to minimize negative impacts to parkland. Although it is important to reduce the risk of vegetative interference with electrical lines we also take into account the benefit trees provide to the surrounding park and what the loss of that tree would mean to that park setting. When trees are approved for removal we also make determinations if replanting trees in the same area is appropriate and if so, work with power companies to provide replacement trees for those removed.
In addition to electric lines there are also utilities such as water, sewer and gas pipe systems located throughout parkland. We work with these utility companies to allow for regular and emergency maintenance of their infrastructure located on parkland. We provide guidance on such projects for access, tree and forest protection both before and during construction. We also assess tree and forest impacts at the end of construction to determine necessary mitigation and restoration measures. Trees impacted beyond preservation are removed to insure safety of people and property.
Arboriculture Section staff are International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) Urban Foresters. Park trees are inspected on an annual or requested basis based on ISA’s tree risk assessment best management practices. The purpose of implementing a tree risk assessment program is to provide a safe experience for park patrons. Tree risk assessment is the systematic process of assessing the potential for a tree or one of its parts to fail and, in so doing, injure people or damage property. All trees have the potential to fail. The degree of risk will vary with the size of the tree, type and location of the defect, tree species, and the nature of the target.
Montgomery Parks houses 420 parks that are available to the public. There are a variety of park types throughout the County and each offer a different set of amenities, for example:
Annual inspections cover trees in parks with amenities. Urban foresters identify tree hazards (such as dead, dying or diseased limbs or trees), prioritize maintenance, and schedule work. Additionally, parkland impacted by severe weather is scheduled for immediate inspection.
Requested inspections are calls or written requests received through the service center. All requests for service should be called into the Montgomery Parks Service Center at 301-495-2595 or emailed to Info@MontgomeryParks.org.