Common Tree Issues

invasive pests

Browntail Moth

Browntail Moths are a common pest in many of our parks. When a person comes in contact with them, they often cause extremely itchy rashes. For more information regarding this, visit HERE.

Native& Non-native invasive pests effect tree health, we are particularly concerned with non-native pests such as ‘Emerald Ash Borer’ (EAB), ‘Asian Longhorn Beetle’ (ALB), ‘Hemlock Wooley Adelgid’ (HWA) that currently pose a threat to Maine’s trees. HWA is active in Southern Maine and in Portland.

For more information, CLICK HERE


Sidewalk / tree root problems occur when surface tree roots contact sidewalk causing lifting or cracking. The majority of these problems exist in areas where large trees occupy small grow spaces and in areas where there is clay or compacted soils. 


Pruning trees around traffic and regulatory signs and signals are a priority. We also prune trees for business signs, often with a caveat with the term ‘within reason’ of the amount of tree pruning and the distance.

Tree root / sewer lateral problems

Tree root / sewer lateral problems occur when old clay-tile sewer laterals fail and advantageous tree roots clog the drain. Requests are often made to remove the closest tree to the problem but the solution ranges from auguring the drain to installing a new PVC or plastic sewer lateral, this often can be sleeved through the existing pipe. 

We recommend that residents with this problem check with the Public Works Wastewater Division and consult a plumbing contractor. Note: Trees are not removed to alleviate sewer drain problems. Tree / Sewer lateral problems increase at the time of year of root growth – just prior to Spring bud break (April) and in the Fall after leaf drop (November). 

Vista Pruning

Portland is a great city with many fine views of Casco Bay, Western Mountains, Back Cove, city skyline and much more. Recent ‘hotspots’ for vista pruning include the Eastern and Western Promenades. We do generate pruning requests for vista pruning where we meet with residents to go over various options. 


These arboreal creatures often cause concerns for homeowners, especially in the Fall season. Tree pruning often seems to be a last chance, plausible solution that never seems to result in solving the rodent problem due to their adaptability of gaining access via gutters, overhead utility lines and other creative ways. Thus – tree pruning requests for squirrel-proofing tend to be low priority calls due to the ineffectiveness.


Our urban tree canopy helps reduce temperature, however, we do receive requests that some trees are “too shady”. We do generate work orders to conduct ‘crown thinning’ pruning or crown lifting as needed – they tend to be low priority requests. Recommendations include using grass seed mixes and using woody & herbaceous landscape plantings that are ‘shade tolerant’.

Parks and Recreation
Fix It! Portland.

Contact Us


    212 Canco Rd, Ste A
    Portland, Maine
    PH: 207-808-5400

    8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

    PARKS director

    Alex Marshall


    Jeff Tarling
    Email Forestry


    Timothy Stephenson
    Office: 207-808-5454
    Ranger Cell: 207-232-3721

    (207) 874-8575

    Love Portland square