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After roughly 4 inches of snow fell overnight in Boulder, many residents woke up to find their trees loaded with snow, some to the point they had fallen over, or branches had broken off.

City officials offered homeowners several tips on how to handle cleaning up the mess.

A news release advised people to first carefully check their surroundings and make sure that there are no hazards, including downed utility lines or hanging branches. The release added that people should also be careful when cleaning snow off branches, because this can cause them to break. Instead, residents should remove snow by gently pushing up on the branches from below to prevent additional stress on the tree.

If a tree has broken branches, homeowners should assess the tree to see if it is overall healthy and can make a complete recovery, the release said. Trees that can recover still possess their leader, the main upward branch, and most of its major branches. Additionally, at least 50% a tree’s crown should be intact.

The release said that broken branches should be removed to minimize the risk of decay and insects or diseases entering the wound. Residents should prune at the branch collar, the point where a branch joins a larger one, and be mindful when trimming of potential pent-up energy if the branch is twisted or bent.

Trees between the street and a city sidewalk may be the responsibility of city crews. People can check whether a tree is publicly owned and maintained by visiting the public tree map at bit.ly/3bHrAwi.

Finally, the release advised that people should contact a city-licensed arborist if the job requires running a chainsaw overhead, sawing from a ladder or removing large branches or entire trees. A list can be found at bouldercolorado.gov/forestry/arborists.

To dispose of branches from private property, the release advised that people can:

    • Place branches that fit inside curbside compost collection bins. Branches may also be bundled: bundled branches must be no more than 6 feet long, 3 inches in diameter and cannot weigh more than 35 pounds. All materials outside of the cart must be in compostable bags and/or branches must be bundled to avoid extra charges.  Residents should consult their trash service provider for specific instructions. This debris will be collected as part of the city’s curbside compost collection program on the regularly scheduled collection day for that property.
    • Take tree branches to Western Disposal, located at 5880 Butte Mill Road.
    • Contact a licensed arborist to pick up or chip branches.

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