Tree maintenance, protective measures and planting

Branch removal in the crown area

Branch removal in the crown area

Tree maintenance

Street trees in the city do not have an easy life. Especially in the densely built areas of Berlin’s inner city, the location conditions do not generally correspond to those in the rural landscape. Consequently, a range of damage occurs, which impairs the health and vitality of the trees severely. This is the reason why street trees in particular need intensive maintenance.

For maintenance reasons, as well as traffic safety, proper cutting measures are also necessary on street trees. In general
  • diseased, dying, dead, crossing and chafing branches are removed,
  • traffic signal systems are cleared,
  • the traffic space is cleared, taking into account an additional safety distance (clearance),
  • branches that constitute a hazard are removed,
  • facades are cleared and
  • tree crowns and habitus are cut, depending on the tree species.

In special cases, scaffold branches are shortened in order to relieve the crown area of trees with limited stability and therefore prevent having to fell the tree. Furthermore, thick branches are also shortened in cases where the tree is subject to very confined conditions, so that the natural growth form is lost by disproportionately long growth.

The relevant standards provide recommendations for the undertaking of cutting work.

Maintenance measures also concern the tree’s surroundings to improve the physical, chemical and biological properties. These include measures to improve
  • the soil structure,
  • aeration,
  • nutrient supply and availability
  • water supply and availability as well as
  • root growth.

Better maintenance for Berlin’s street trees

State Secretary for the Environment, Stefan Tidow, has concluded the first city-wide target agreement for quality maintenance of street trees with the city councillors responsible for roads and green spaces, as well as those responsible for finance of all twelve Berlin districts for 2020 and 2021. (in German)

  • Zielvereinbarung zur gesamtstädtischen Steuerung zur Stabilisierung des Bestandes an Straßenbäumen in bezirklicher Verwaltung

    PDF-Document (772.8 kB)

Construction work with massive root damage

Construction work with massive root damage

Protection measures

Maintenance measures also includes treating damage to the bark, wood and roots. Construction works and road traffic can have a severe negative impact on trees in city streets. This is particularly true for the root area below the drip line. Damage to the trunk and crown can also seriously endanger trees. There are detailed regulations regarding construction works and excavations in the area surrounding trees, such as DIN 18 920.


Good tree maintenance begins with the planting. Properly carried out maintenance can protect trees from harmful influences. Above all, they include creating an optimum root space, the use of plant-compatible substrates and other construction materials, as well as installing protective devices. Furthermore, good maintenance (watering!) from the outset is important.

The relevant functional departments of the twelve district road and green space offices of Berlin are responsible for the trees on public road land and in green spaces.

The Berlin Tree Protection Ordinance forms the legal basis of the protection of trees in our city. Further information is available on the Nature Conservation in Berlin / Tree Protection site.