Tree Debris Removal
Information on this Page
Pickup will continue through the winter. During snow events, pickup may be suspended temporarily for plow operations before collection resumes.
The final pickup of tree debris has not yet started, residents still have time to get remaining tree debris to the curb, and the final date will be announced in advance. The final pickup of tree debris is anticipated to start in the early months of 2021, concluding before the end of the winter. This will include the breakdown and removal of large tree trunks or root balls, and one pickup through alleys. Some hazardous root ball work and soil restoration may extend into the spring, due to the presence of underground utilities. Exact timelines will be updated as work continues to progress.
Tree debris pickup is working concurrently with street tree removals; as crews remove damaged street trees, a different crew will return to the area and collect the debris.
Street-clearing resources are not being used to clear parks; a separate contractor is working on clearing public parks. It is important for the public to stay out of parks that are closed for tree removals, as these are active work sites and contractor crews cannot always see people during their cleanup operations, putting park patrons and contractors in danger. While crews will continue to work throughout the winter months, we expect that parks cleanup will continue into the spring, including removing hazardous trees, limbs, and root ball removals. Golf course removals are prioritized over the winter, while the ground is frozen, to limit any potential damage to the turf and to meet spring opening dates.
- Debris Piles: To report missed/skipped piles or intersection concerns, please use this form
- Street Tree: To report storm damage to a public tree, please use the City’s web reporting tool here
- Sidewalk: To report damage to a sidewalk, please use this form
See where crews are working today.
Tap on a question to view the corresponding answer.
No, crews have not started the final pickup of tree debris. Crews are still collecting in all quadrants of the city. Every neighborhood is different and has varying volumes of tree debris remaining; we will continue collecting tree debris until we determine a reasonable cut-off date is in sight based on remaining material.
Crews are trying to address hanging and potentially hazardous limbs before winter, when snow and ice can weigh down damaged limbs and increase fall risk. They need to move quickly in order to reach 40,000 street trees before winter, so they are trimming and leaving debris behind so they can quickly move on to the next tree. A crew will pick up the tree debris at a later date. Residents can assist by pushing tree debris to the curb for our crews to collect.
Crews may need to return to a street tree multiple times before the process is fully completed. Initially, crews focused on cutting only the most hazardous branches, moving quickly to the next tree in order to address the worst hazards throughout the city. Crews will then return to cut additional broken branches or address new breaks caused by wind or ice since the derecho. The contractor crews are focusing only on cutting hazardous limbs; City Forestry crews will also return to help make healthy, clean cuts that will support the longevity of the tree. Contractor crews are paid the same amount for work at the tree, whether they trim the tree once or multiple times.
Crews are trimming hazardous limbs from private trees if the limbs are hanging into the public right-of-way and have the potential to fall.
Residents can look up their street tree online to determine if it’s a City-owned tree, using Tree Finder. Type your address into the search box to find your property and to view the City-owned trees and planting spaces.
Yes, the City will pick up large root balls after debris piles are collected. The contractor will then return with special equipment to split apart the root systems and haul them away, and will back fill the holes left behind. The final pickup of tree debris is anticipated to start in the early months of 2021, concluding before the end of the winter. This will include the breakdown and removal of large tree trunks or root balls. Hazardous root ball work and soil restoration may extend into the spring, due to the presence of underground utilities. Exact timelines will be updated as work continues to progress.
Street-clearing resources are not being used to clear parks. Flannery Trucking LLC is the contractor overseeing the pickup of all curbside storm debris. A separate contractor, Boomerang, is working on clearing public parks.
Crews are currently collecting tree debris curbside at this time. The final pickup of tree debris is anticipated to start in the early months of 2021. This will include one pickup through alleys. Residents are encouraged to continue placing debris piles at the curb for pickup, not adding more debris to alleys.
Crews will return to each street multiple times; however, residents can also report missed locations on our website.
This is a major disaster recovery operation, which has impacted the entire city and which will take significant time to complete. We will return to each street more than one time. The entire process will take months. There is not a set number of passes, we will continue collecting tree debris until we determine a reasonable cut-off date is in sight based on remaining material.
There are a variety of reasons why crews may not have been able to pick everything up. The contractor may have been using vehicles or equipment that were too large to fit down the street – such as cul-de-sacs or dead ends where they can’t easily turn around. There may also have been parked cars blocking debris piles. The piles may have been underneath a tree or low-hanging utility wire, and not accessible to the truck's crane. Another reason you may see debris after a first pick-up it because residents or contractors have placed out new debris piles for pick-up during future collections. It’s also possible crews missed a pile, and we are working hard to verify that all piles are picked up.
Contracted crews are working 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week - which has allowed for most City crews to resume seasonal construction and complete maintenance projects before winter. The contractor vehicles are specifically equipped to haul large volumes of tree debris, and on average, can carry the equivalent of 5 standard city truck loads. Their vehicles are carrying approximately 150 cubic yards.
No. Tree debris removal is being done curb-side at no charge to residents.
Trucks are not filled to full capacity to reduce the risk of debris falling out onto the roadway. All truckloads are being tracked with debris monitors, and the contractor is paid by volume (not by truckload).
Minor property damage sustained during debris removal performed by the City or its contractors such as lawn or landscaping will need to be repaired by the property owner. You can report more significant damage sustained during debris removal performed by the City or its contractors such as pavement or structural damage to the City’s Risk Services Division:
Yes, but we need approval through the Homeowners Association to drive equipment onto private roads. Please email the name and contact information for the neighborhood’s HOA representative to email@example.com so we can facilitate this.
Properties owned and maintained by a commercial enterprise, such as mobile home parks, are typically insured for disaster-related costs. Debris pick-up will be undertaken by the property manager, not the City.
Residents can save wood for personal use such as refurnishing, firewood, etc., but will need to collect any wood they want to save from their property or their neighbor’s property, prior to it being picked up by crews. Once the wood is picked up, it will go to a drop-off site for mulching as well as appropriate FEMA documentation, and is not available for residents at this time. For safety reasons, we cannot allow residents onto drop-off sites while work is underway where heavy machinery is operated and there are significant volumes of large truck traffic and debris piles.
We requested and received the support of the National Guard during the early days of our disaster recovery efforts, through Linn County Emergency Management and Iowa Homeland Security. The National Guard was deployed by Thursday, August 13 with the mission to clear critical infrastructure; they accompanied electrical utility workers with clearing debris for electrical power restoration. The equipment and vehicles used by the Guard are not conducive to long-term, large scale debris management; the City has subsequently contracted with a firm that specializes in large debris clean-up and hauling, and who are specifically equipped for this type of disaster recovery.