Park Maintenance and Forestry operations are comprised of three sections plus Administrative support.
The Park Management section encompasses all grounds maintenance services for parks, many right-of-way areas, and many public facilities.
Park Management is responsible for 127 parks comprising roughly 4,902 acres plus grounds maintenance for 2,500 acres of right-of-way, which range from open ditch areas to intensively developed landscapes in medians and along major thoroughfares.
The Cemetery Trust Fund is also included in this service area with burials and maintenance coordinated at four facilities with funding for contract maintenance from interest income from the trust fund.
The Citywide trash collection and grounds maintenance responsibilities include maintenance of 53 athletic fields and 52 miles of pedestrian and bicycle pathways.
Recreation programming and special events are supported from this section.
The Forestry section is responsible for the maintenance of all public trees within 4,900 acres of parks, along 2,500 miles of right-of-ways, and along many sections of the rivers, streams, and drainage ways within the City.
Forestry activities include tree planting, establishment care, pruning, and removal Citywide within parks and along street right-of-ways.
Emergency work after storm events with a primary focus on public safety and hazard reduction is another responsibility. This includes keeping over 60,000 traffic control signals and signs cleared from blocking tree branches and tree debris removal.
The Construction section has the responsibility for infrastructure maintenance of all park improvements (excluding buildings).
Construction and maintenance of park improvements include 87 playground systems, all bridges, benches, tables, courts and net systems, signs, fencing, 5 swimming pools, 8 interactive water play features, 2 interactive water fountains, and 1 (excluding circulation and filtration systems), graffiti removal, carpentry and metal fabrication, concrete and masonry work; and coordination, delivery, set-up, and pick-up of the portable bleacher system, portable stage, and portable public address systems.
Public Tree Maintenance
A healthy forest canopy within public areas is maintained through tree pruning, removal of dead and declining trees and planting of new trees including establishment care for three years. Forestry service is provided on a request basis and through systematic operations of pruning and planting. An annual city-wide inspection is scheduled to identify, and then remove dead and declining trees as part of the tree risk management program. Emergency tree work is provided to clear and remove storm-damaged trees and tree debris. New tree planting and establishment care is provided through a reforestation program for neighborhoods and parks and through contractor tree plantings as part of capital roadway projects.
How to Tell if the Tree Is in the City ROW (Rule of Thumb)
If the tree originates within the space between the curb and sidewalk, it is most likely a City tree. (This is true even if an actual sidewalk does not exist. Just look at the driveway and you should see, if it is a concrete driveway, what is called a sidewalk panel which is a strip of concrete that is placed where a sidewalk could go if one were to be installed in the future.) There are more steps to take if there are no landmarks such as sidewalk panels to reference. If you cannot tell if the tree is public or private, just call the Forestry office. We can help.
What Constitutes a Tree-Related Emergency
A situation in which a City-owned tree or portion of a City-owned tree is or will eminently cause harm to life or property. The tree or portion of the tree may or may not be connected i.e. a large limb that has fallen into the street on a blind curve.
To report a tree emergency, dial 316-268-4003, 316-268-4004, 316-268-4361, or just call 911.
A non-emergency situation is when a City-owned tree or portion of a City-owned tree is damaged and in need of attention but is not impeding vehicle traffic or eminently threatening life or property.
The Difference Between a City Street Right-of-Way (ROW) and a Utility Easement Tree
A City street right-of-way (ROW) is adjacent to the curb of the street regardless of overhead power lines/utilities. Trees located in the City street ROW are owned by the City of Wichita and managed under the jurisdiction of the City Forestry office. Where power lines or other utilities cross private property and are not adjacent to the City street, a utility easement exists for line/utility maintenance. Trees that exist within this utility easement are owned by the adjacent property owner and are the responsibility of that property owner, not the City. This includes alleyways. City Forestry has jurisdiction over trees located in the following areas: street ROW, City parks and golf courses, and City-owned buildings and land.
Forestry makes every effort to preserve and protect trees in the public right-of-way until their health or condition warrants removal. Forestry does not remove healthy trees due to infrastructure conflicts with sewer lines or sidewalk concrete. Tree roots rarely damage sound pipes in good condition, and only intrude if they have been afforded access by a break, joint failure, or perforation. The best way to prevent this from occurring is to repair the line with impervious, watertight piping.
Keep Yourself Safe!
During storms (especially with high winds), trees and limbs may become weakened and can fall. Exercise caution under and around trees during stormy weather.
Tree damage often occurs during inclement weather, and severe storms can cause extensive damage. During severe weather events, Wichita Park and Recreation may ask for your patience as we prioritize our work to secure the most hazardous conditions first.
Major storm events can have severe effects on our urban trees. High winds, lightning, and heavy rains may cause fallen trees, downed limbs, and hanging limbs. During such events, the first priority for Forestry is to clear roads and secure all storm-damaged trees. Routine forestry services during and shortly after a storm may be temporarily suspended until cleanup operations have been completed. Occasionally during cleanup operations, debris from fallen limbs and trees may be left at the curb. Every effort is made to address these piles in a timely fashion.
The City of Wichita is has formalized a policy regarding trees on public property. This policy helps to improve tree protection, planting, maintenance, and removal procedures during City development on City property and City right-of-way.
Read the approved Tree Policy (PDF)
- There is a tree in the alley behind my house, who is responsible for the maintenance of that tree?
When 2 private properties are separated by an alley, each adjacent property owner is responsible for maintaining the vegetation on their half of the alley.
Example: An alley separates 2 properties and the alley is 20 feet wide. Each property owner would need to maintain 10 feet into the alley.
- A wind storm broke branches in my private trees. Will the City come by and pick them up at no cost?
No. Private debris is the responsibility of the property owner. The exception to this rule is that in rare situations, City officials will assess a widespread catastrophic event and decide to remove both public and private debris for a specified time in specified areas. The announcement of such a debris pickup will come directly from the City Manager's office through the local media.
- Will the City trim a tree on my private property?
The City does not perform work on trees located on private property. You should consult with a certified arborist before performing any work on your property.