You can request tree pruning from the Parks Department by calling 311 or through the New York City Parks Department website. The Parks Department accepts pruning requests for specific problems, such as dead branches, tree rubbing against a building, or branches hitting a telephone or power line. Parks prune street trees established neighborhood by neighborhood. This process allows us to prune part of the trees on the streets of each community meeting every year.
NYC Parks routinely prunes a portion of the city's trees every year at each community meeting to keep our mature trees healthy. If you think a tree needs maintenance pruning, you can wait for the regular cycle or you can contact 311 to request an inspection by a forester who can assess the tree's pruning needs. The forester will then decide if the tree needs to be pruned more immediately or if the next pruning cycle will solve the problems. It is illegal to prune or cut down a street tree without a permit.
If you want to prune or remove a tree in the front of your house, all you have to do is express your concern about the tree to the city and they will send someone to prune the tree. In other cases, they will give you permission to do the work. As part of this permit, you'll need to hire a certified arborist to do the work. If you have a valid Citizen Pruner license from Trees New York, you can prune trees on New York streets as follows.
The department's tree trimming budget is mainly used to pay private tree trimming companies one in each district, but that doesn't mean they can prune their favorite Osage or Catalpa tree at will or not. You can call your local council or city and ask them to prune the street tree at the front of your property. It's also worth noting that once you've been given permission to prune or remove the tree from the street in the form of a permit, this is a one-time thing. If you think the private company that has pruned the tree on the front of your property isn't doing a good job, be sure to tell the council.