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Chipper Days 2017

November 6, 2017 @ 8:00 am - November 7, 2017 @ 5:00 pm

Due the extreme drought this summer, King Conservation District has granted the MCA additional money to hold Chipper Day 2017 on November 6th. The first 50 MCA members who registered will get a maximum pile of 4-ft x 8-ft (with branches no longer than 10 ft.) chipped for free. Please read all of the instructions below!

As an official Firewise Community USA, this is our second Firewise event of the year, following the SE 146th St. Project; homeowners on that street will be given lower priority for this Chipper Day event since they already benefited from a KCD grant this year.

We intend to apply for a competitive DNR grant for more chipping in 2018. Their application period begins in November, grants are awarded in February, and the work must be completed by May.

LIMITS: Due to limited funding, we need to limit the number of participants to 50, and limit each homeowner’s pile to a single row of branches up to 4-ft high x 8-ft wide. Branches must be less than 10-ft long and less than 6-inches in diameter.

THE DETAILS (please read and comply!): 

Firewise Community Chipper Day will be held Monday and Tuesday, November 6th and 7th. The MCA sponsors this event, with a grant from King Conservation District. To be eligible you:

  • Must be up to date with your 2017 dues. To join, bring your dues current, or to inquire about your 2017 membership status, contact Lisa Lux at membership@mirrormont.org
  • Must have an easily visible street address sign by the side of your driveway (a reflective, two-sided MCA-sponsored signpost — or your own sign).
  • Register no later than November 1st.
  • Email your request to participate to Lisa Lux at membership@mirrormont.orgby Nov. 1st— include your name, address, phone number, and email.
  • If you want chips, please make note of this when you register. You can request a 12-cubic yard truckload to be dumped (no partial loads). Be sure to indicate where you want the pile, and assure the location is easily accessible for dumping. There are no guarantees you will receive chips.
  • Have your piles out by Nov. 5thto ensure chipping. Stack branches by the side of the road with the cut (fattest) ends facing in one direction — at least 15 feet away from a mailbox. No rope, nails, metal, rocks, plastic, or lumber!
  • Post your “flow number” (assigned the week of Nov. 1st) and street address on the pile by Nov. 5th. For example, #21—14985.
  • Track and report to how many hours you spent working on trimming, clean-up, and moving your piles to the roadway. We must contribute $2 per capita ($3000) for Mirrormont to continue to be a Firewise Community USA, which makes us eligible for grants such as this. Our hours are rated at $20/hour. This is important!
  • When trimming, be safe. Branches can be heavier than they look, and trimming equipment is extremely sharp. Keep your distance from the chipper crew when they are working. They are the experts, and like us, don’t want anyone to get hurt.
  • Attached is a flyer on pruning, as well as additional resources.
  • Be sure to sign up early to ensure you are part of this event!
  • The success of this project depends on everyone complying with the above. Please respect the time that MCA volunteers are putting into organizing and implementing this.

Preparing for MCA Firewise Chipper Days 2017 

November 6th—7th

Before November 5th, clear dead brush and dry branches from the forest floor. Prune shrubs and limb-up trees to remove ladder fuels and dead material. Prune trees 6’—10’ from ground (but leave at least ½ the tree with live limbs). Pruning of trees and shrubs creates mini fuel breaks. See http://www.king27fire.com/forms/FirewiseBrochure.pdf    When removing branches, be sure to leave the “branch collar” intact (see diagram here and pruning flyer below.)

  • Stack branches next to the road so the cut (fat) ends point toward the road. This makes it easier to handle when chipping. Have your cuttings stacked no later than Sunday, Nov. 5th.

Assure that no rope, nails, metal, rocks, plastic, or lumber are in the pile.

Make a note of time spent cleaning, trimming, and stacking – it is this “volunteer” time that allows us to be eligible for grant funding. Include time you spent this year removing debris from your roof and gutters.

  • The crew will work their way along our streets from pile to pile. Chips not wanted by homeowners will be donated to Mirrormont Park for trail and edging improvements and other landscaping.

 See the Firewise brochure at http://www.king27fire.com/forms/FirewiseBrochure.pdf

Tree Pruning


This pruning guide is designed for beginning tree pruners and is written for the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest (United States). Please use this to help you and your friends and neighbors understand correct pruning techniques. This guide is written in English, and is being translated into other languages, and was made possible by funding from the USDA Forest Service and the King County Department of Natural Resources.

Depending upon where you live, you may be required to get a permit for tree pruning and removal. These requirements vary from city to city, borough, county, state, and country.

* Prune trees to encourage and direct growth and accentuate a tree’s beauty, not to inhibit growth.

By properly removing branches, we make sure that trees will mature to their natural shapes and preserve their natural beauty, vigor, and health. A little careful pruning early can protect your tree from branches breaking or becoming too crowded as the tree grows.

Most pruning involves removing a few lower branches and when done correctly, trees require less pruning as they mature. Good pruning never changes the shape of the tree.

Examples of the natural shape and form of trees

Please consult your local agriculture or forestry bureau for more information.

The City of Seattle requires a permit for removal of street trees or to hire a professional to prune. Permits are also required for pruning and removal of trees in critical areas (wetlands or steep slopes). For information, telephone 206.684.5008 or go to: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/forestry.htm

Guidelines for When to Prune

*    Prune to remove broken branches or to get street and sidewalk clearance anytime.

*    Prune fruit trees when they are in winter dormancy before the buds swell or, in the summer.

*    Prune willow and poplar trees late in the summer.

*    Prune elm trees in the Pacific Northwest only between October 15th and April 15th (while leaves are off the tree) to minimize damage from the elm leaf borer and Dutch Elm Disease.

*    Prune birch, beech and maple trees after a hard frost to lessen sap flow.

Why Prune Trees?

*    Prune to increase visibility and provide clearance for pedestrians and vehicles. In Seattle, street tree branches must provide 8 feet of clearance over the sidewalk and 14 feet above the street at the curb.

*    Prune to allow for light penetration or to frame a view.

*    Prune to remove broken, diseased, or dead branches and suckers from the roots or root collar.

*    Prune to direct growth and improve the structure in young trees.

*    To increase fruit production.

Natural Target Pruning – Learn Where and How to Make Pruning Cuts

By using the three step method when pruning, trees will respond by quickly closing over pruning cuts, remaining healthy, and looking nice. Branches are actually made from their own wood which is held onto the trunk by yearly wrappings of new growth. The branch collar is where the branch wood and the trunk wood meet. Making the pruning cut just outside this collar is important for tree health.

The angle of your pruning cut should expose the least amount of surface area. Use the three cut method to ensure that the bark does not tear as the branch falls away, causing a bigger injury to the trunk.

Three Cut Method for Removing Large Branches

Use the three cut method to remove branches larger than ¾ inch or 2 centimeters. On narrow angled branch attachments, you may have to cut entirely from the outside upwards.

Types of Pruning Cuts

Thinning Cuts

Thinning cuts are better for the health of a tree. Remove an entire branch by making a good pruning cut where the branch would have grown from a bud on another branch or the tree trunk. Thinning cuts are used to open or raise the tree canopy and can also be used to remove select branches to improve views.

Note: Thinning removes an entire branch back to another branch or to the trunk of the tree.

Do not remove more than 25% of the canopy of the tree in one growing season or over a five year period otherwise you stimulate sprouts that grow quickly and are unhealthy and unsightly and could be unsafe.

Heading Cuts

Selective heading cuts are used to shorten the branch and change its direction of growth. Prune the branch just above a bud that points in the desired direction or to a side branch that is at least half the diameter of what you are removing.

Making a non-selective heading cut removes a branch that leaves a stub and open end that can either take a long time to cover with bark or be a point of entry for disease. These cuts are hardest on a tree and usually result in a quick regrowth of lots of shoots.

Note: Head cuts are only used to change the direction of growth when a thinning cut will remove too much wood. Always cut above a bud facing the direction of the desired new growth.


Good Tips to Avoid Bad Pruning

Use the 3 cut method to shorten branches before removal. This will prevent the branch from damaging the trunk as it falls to the ground, as shown in drawings below.

Do Not Top Trees!

Topping cuts are a non- selective heading cut that causes the branch to dieback or form weak, rapid, bushy sprouts that are unsightly. If these sprouts are allowed to grow, they can become unsafe from being so heavy and yet just attached to the outer bark.

regrowth of topped small

tree with lots of sprouts

Trees give us so much! Please keep them healthy and safe!

Reproduction encouraged! This Tree Pruning Guide was made possible by a grant from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks and funds from the USDA Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources, with other assistance from the City of Seattle, awarded through the Natural Resource Stewardship Network.  Assistance was also provided from PlantAmnesty, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Forestry students at the University of Washington, and students in the Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development program.

It is intended to help more people understand how to prune trees. If you have concerns with the translation, please email trees@seattle.gov or telephone 206.684.5008.

For more information on pruning, see: 

PlantAmnesty: http://www.plantamnesty.org

This website also has YouTube pruning videos under Education

and provides a referral service for arborists under Services


Seattle Public Utilities  http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pruningguides.htm


Tree maintance video



For more on Firewise, see:


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November 6, 2017 @ 8:00 am
November 7, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
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