The Maryland Roadside Tree Law - Tree Care Standards

.07 Roadside Tree Care Standards

  1. General Requirements. Unless the Maryland Department of Transportation Forest Service grants an exception, treatment of roadside trees authorized by permit must be performed according to the following standards:
    1. Branches to be removed shall be cut back to a live lateral branch at least 1/3 the diameter of the severed branch;
    2. Cuts shall be made sufficiently close to the trunk or parent limb without cutting into the branch collar or leaving a protruding stub;
    3. Proper pruning techniques shall be followed at all times;
    4. Except when directed by the Forest Service, pruning cuts shall be left unpainted for aesthetic reasons;
    5. If the painting of cuts is required, only materials nontoxic to the cambial layer shall be used;
    6. Dangerous deadwood and broken limbs that are located within the scope of work as defined in the permit shall be removed;
    7. Except when authorized by the Forest Service or when the tree is being removed, climbing hooks or spurs are prohibited;
    8. Chips resulting from roadside tree care may:
      1. Be broadcast on a right-of-way except in ditches, waterways, turf, and surfaced areas, and
      2. Not exceed 6 inches in depth on the right-of-way;
    9. The wrapping or winding of cable, wires, and other attachments around a tree, or fastening attachments to a tree to bruise or injure a tree or cavity work performed on a tree, is prohibited; and
    10. When trees are removed, replacement of those trees according to a plan may be required by the Forest Service.
  2. Tree Clearance for Overhead Facilities.
    1. (1) In addition to the requirements of Section A of this regulation, a person who trims a tree to provide clearance for utility wires, cables, or other facilities shall:
      1. Allow sufficient clearance for two years' growth normally expected after trimming, unless otherwise directed by the Forest Service;
      2. Take into account the health of the tree; and
      3. Make proper cuts that direct growth away from overhead wires and facilities in compliance with safety standards and government regulations.
    2. If a trimmed tree dies within one year or is in poor condition of growth as a result of that trimming, the permittee shall, if required by the Forest Service, remove the tree and plant replacement trees.
    3. Replacement trees shall be:
      1. Furnished by the permittee;
      2. In good condition;
      3. Of a recommended size and species, and
      4. Property planted at locations to be determined by the Forest Service.
  3. Ground Disturbance Requirements.
    1. (1) The requirements set forth in this section:
      1. (a) Are intended to protect roadside trees during construction, installation, and maintenance of a structure requiring excavation;
      2. (b) Apply to underground utilities such as:
        1. Sewers,
        2. Water and gas pipes,
        3. Storm drains;
        4. Electric, telephone, and television cables or conduits,
        5. Sidewalks,
        6. Driveways, or
        7. Roadways or similar structures.
    2. A permittee shall take all necessary measures to protect roadside trees from damage during construction and associated activities.
    3. Damage sustained by a tree, such as broken limbs, roots, or scarred trunks, including compaction damage, shall be repaired by the permittee.
    4. The Forest Service shall supervise the measures taken to protect and repair roadside trees under this section.
  4. Protection of Tree Roots.
    1. When an underground project subject to C of this regulation encounters the roots of a roadside tree, a permittee, in accordance with the guidelines below in D(2)-(15) of this regulation or other criteria approved by the Forest Service, shall tunnel or bore under the tree or modify the project to protect the tree's root system.
    2. For trees under 6 inches in diameter as measured 4 1/2 feet above average ground level, all machine digging shall stop at the dripline of the tree, or where specified by the Forest Service.
    3. For trees over 6 inches in diameter as measured 4 1/2 feet above average ground level, all machine digging shall stop when roots of 1 inch or more in diameter are encountered, or, where specified by the Forest Service.
    4. Roots 1 inch or more in diameter may not be cut without approval of the Forest Service.
    5. A tunnel or other method of modification of the project under or around the tree shall be used if considered necessary by the Forest Service.
    6. The procedure noted above in D(5) of this regulation also shall be used to approach the tree from the opposite side.
    7. At least 24 inches of undisturbed earth shall remain over the tunnel or bore, or above other type of installation.
    8. For operations using shallow trenching techniques up to 12 inches deep, care shall be taken to minimize root damage and protect the trunk of the tree.
    9. Roots 1 inch or larger, damaged during construction, shall be sawed off close to the tree side of the ditch. Clean cuts shall be made at all times.
    10. Installations affecting roadside trees shall be completed in as short a time as possible to prevent the drying out of exposed roots.
    11. If considered necessary, the exposed root area within the ditch shall be watered and fertilized as directed by the Forest Service.
    12. Tunnels shall be refilled and the soil tamped tightly to original firmness.
    13. Trenches shall be filled to achieve and maintain original grade.
    14. Excess soil shall be removed from the site or disposed of as directed by the Forest Service.
    15. Unless otherwise directed by the Forest Service, the ground shall be fertilized and reseeded, cover shall be restored, and other procedures shall be followed as necessary to prevent erosion around trees.
  5. Violations of Roadside Tree Standards.
    1. The Forest Service may require a person who fails to comply with C or D of this regulation to:
      1. Remove and replace a tree that dies up to one year after the treatment activity is completed;
      2. Document for three years the condition of a tree that shows decline;
      3. Remove and replace a tree that dies after three years following the completion of the treatment activity, if the tree has been the subject of the documentation in E(l) (b) of this regulation.
    2. The value of a tree to be replaced is determined as of the date of the violation.