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Portland Pruners Program

A volunteer prunes away lower branches.
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What is the Portland Pruners Program?

A volunteer prunes a tree.
Volunteers trained to prune young trees care for our neighborhoods.

A resource for volunteers interested in pruning young street trees in Portland.

The program is intended for experienced pruners to take a leadership role in organizing and leading a small group to prune their young neighborhood street trees.

Participants will:

  • Work with UF staff for:
    • Permitting
    • Permission materials
    • Outreach resources
    • Pruning supplies
  • Identify street trees in need of care. 
  • Conduct outreach for property owner approval.
  • Organize a pruning event!
  • Collect data on trees pruned.

This program is for Neighborhood Tree Teams and graduates of the Neighborhood Tree Stewards program. Approved applicant(s) will have access to the resources needed to lead independent, self-organized street tree pruning events.

Who Can Prune Street Trees?

In Portland, the care and upkeep of streets trees is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Both written permission from the adjacent property owner and a pruning permit issued by Urban Forestry is required for most street tree pruning. The Portland Pruners Program streamlines this process, provides pruning tools and equipment, and brings people together to prune street trees. 

Pruning Young Trees is Important

A branch being pruned in winter.
Knowing the right techniques for tree pruning is important for the tree's health.

Proper pruning is essential in developing a tree with a strong structure and desirable form. Trees that receive care and pruning while they are young will require less corrective pruning as they mature.

This is important in Portland where many of our street trees may not get regular pruning as they grow. Pruning them when they are young helps them grow correctly and provide many benefits for the city.


Those interested in pruning young trees and who have previous pruning experience should apply for the program. 

  1. Please review the Portland Pruners Program Overview before completing your application.
  2. Complete the Portland Pruners Program Interest Form.
  3. Email completed forms to

Program Requirements

We want to ensure that our street trees are being pruned by those with the proper knowledge and skills. This program is a resource for experienced pruners looking to use the skills they possess to make a positive impact in their neighborhood.

 Pruning experience and knowledge required for program participants can come from one of these sources:

  • International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist with pruning experience
  • Participated in previous Urban Forestry pruning workshops
  • Participated in the Community Tree Care program
  • Neighborhood Tree Steward Alumni
  • Participated in other pruning training (provide Urban Forestry with the training details)

Do quality control on the trees you or your group pruned.

  • Program participants are responsible for the pruning done by everyone in their group
  • Make sure everyone pruning has the skills and knowledge to meet City and industry standards of pruning

Care for and return all tools and materials borrowed from Urban Forestry.

Have all the pruned trees pass a quality control audit by Urban Forestry. 

Young Tree Pruning Resources

Pruning young trees is both an art and a science. Being good at pruning, and teaching others to prune, comes from understanding how trees grow, as well as practice, practice, practice. The following resources give good information on how to prune young trees.

About Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry

Close-up image of the cone of a Douglas-fir tree.

The mission of PP&R’s Urban Forestry (UF) division is to manage and care for Portland's tree infrastructure in the City for current and future generations. Portland’s urban forest consists of 220,000 street trees, 1.2 million park trees, and innumerable private property trees. The Urban Forestry division is involved in managing or regulating these trees. UF created and implements the City of Portland's Urban Forest Management Plan, fosters community tree awareness and stewardship, develops tree policies and programs, monitors and assesses Portland’s urban forest, and issues permits for planting, pruning, and removal of public and some private trees. During extreme weather at all times of the year, UF crews respond to tree emergencies to keep you safe and the City moving.

For more information on Urban Forestry at