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					                   Report on tree trimming and pruning in the community



There is widespread concern and condemnation of the tree trimming and pruning practices in
Seven Lakes. Many deciduous trees have recently been savagely cut back, leaving little more
than “hat rack” silhouettes. Palms are regularly cut back to leave nothing more than an inelegant
plume of a frond or two and all of the beautiful flowering and fruiting stems are removed so that
this year there is scarcely a palm flower to be seen in the Community. More recently, some
oleanders on the golf course have been mutilated by being cut off flat at about the four foot level,
just as they were about to bloom. We have been deprived of these beautiful shrub’s flowers both
this year and for several years to come before they recover. This later case is particularly galling
as it took place well after considerable publicity and discussion about the strong concerns of the
community to preserve our flowering trees and shrubs. Finally it has been observed that staff are
trimming the lower branches of some of the trees against the back fence. Surely we should be
encouraging all of the vegetation possible against the back fence, to shut off the views of the new
commercial buildings and their associated roads and traffic, and to create a more pleasing view
as we play golf.

The past Landscape Committee studied this problem and found that there is no need to adopt
such severe trimming and pruning tactics, except that it might save a little money in the long run
as the intervals between pruning are increased. However, it is clear from the immense support I
received to my letter in the Seven Laker on the subject, that the residents of Seven Lakes do not
approve of the present trimming and pruning practices, and would be willing to accept some
reasonable increases in cost to improve the aesthetic qualities and beauty of our community. It is
readily accepted that from time to time a tree may become excessively large for its location as
they do grow fast in this climate. However, the present practices are far too severe for a
significant part of our population.

It is therefore proposed that the Board implement the following;

1.Amend the two tree trimming contracts ( one for non-palms and one for palms ) to include a
quality-of-work section.A draft text is attached.The Lee County Tree Maintenance Requirements
(attached) should also be attached to the contracts as a guideline.It came as a surprise to me that
the present contracts contain no quality or standard-of-work clauses.It is very unusual, in my
considerable experience, for contracts not to contain some type of performance or quality
standards.

2.All staff with responsibilities for trimming and pruning should be acquainted with these
policies and the appropriate training provided as necessary.The cutting of the oleanders on Nos.
1 and 15tees seems to me to have been done at the wrong time of year and it was not the right
way to trim such shrubs.Flowering shrubs are normally pruned AFTER they bloom and even
then, not by simply cropping them like cutting grass.
3.It should be the stated policy of this Board that we should be encouraging dense trees and
shrubs against the back fence and to allow them to grow uninhibited, to the extent reasonable, so
that we have a more pleasing vista than the present.

Submitted to the Board by Colin Billowes
Former Landscape Committee member
21st Mar 2001


          PROPOSED ADDITION TO PALM TREE TRIMMING CONTRACT

Aesthetics

The contractor shall trim the palms in such a way that they continue to be aesthetically pleasing
as defined by the Seven Lakes Community Association.Specifically this means leaving sufficient
foliage so that the trees continue to have a reasonably pleasing appearance after the trimming.In
particular, no flowering buds or flowers will be removed.The removal of the flowering and
fruiting stems of palms is specifically prohibited until the fruit has largely fallen and the stems
are beginning to brown-off

The preservation of the aesthetic appearance of the trees shall be accomplished, to the extent
possible, without causing the need for major additional expenditures by the Association, over the
long term, due to the need for more frequent trimming.

The Lee County Tree Maintenance Requirements are attached as a guide.



       PROPOSED ADDITION TO NON-PALM TREE TRIMMING CONTRACT

Aesthetics

The contractor shall trim the trees in such a way that they continue to be aesthetically pleasing as
defined by the Seven Lakes Community Association.Specifically this means leaving sufficient
foliage so that the trees continue to have a reasonably pleasing appearance after the trimming.So-
called “hat-racking” or the virtual total removal of all foliage is not permitted except with the
specific permission of, or at the request of, the Seven Lakes Community Association.


The preservation of the aesthetic appearance of the trees shall be accomplished, to the extent
possible, without causing the need for major additional expenditures by the Association, over the
long term, due to the need for more frequent trimming.

The Lee County Tree Maintenance Requirements are attached as a guide.

				
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posted:2/22/2012
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