Underway: Dead Tree Removal Work Along Sligo Creek Trail & Sligo Creek Parkway

Parks crews are removing 87 dead or dying trees that present safety hazards through mid November. The work will take approximately four weeks to complete, weather permitting. See the bottom of this post for details, and check the Parks website for updates.

FOSC’s upcoming program will feature Urban Forestry in Moco Parks, with Colter Burkes, senior forester at Parks, who will also discuss green waste recycling, and hazard tree management. The program is on Wed Oct 27 at 7:00pm via Zoom. Bring your questions!

FOSC asked Parks about the tree removal progam:

  • How does MNCPPC designate trees as ‘hazardous’?

We use a hazard tree risk assessment protocol put forth by the International Society of Arboriculture that helps us categorize the level of risk a tree poses to the safety of park patrons. Tree risk is categorized as High, Moderate or Low. Our Urban Foresters use their knowledge of tree structure to assess the how likely a tree is to fall. This is combined with the occupancy rate of a target (what the tree would hit if it fell) and how severe the damage would be when it hit that target. So on Sligo Creek Parkway a dead tree leaning over the road may be likely to fall into the road and the road is busy so you have a target (cars) that are frequently in the fall zone of that tree and if it hit a car those damages could be severe. This would be a High risk tree. We remove High and Moderate rated trees as part of our hazard tree removal program across our Montgomery Parks. Trees categorized as Low are usually not removed.


  • Does MNCPPC attempt to mitigate said hazards before deciding to remove trees?

Yes. Sometimes we may be able to prune a tree to reduce the hazard and sometimes we can move the target out of the fall path of the tree so if it fell it would not hit anything. But we can’t move the target when a tree is going to hit the trail or road.


  • Is tree removal a regular practice of MNCPPC?

Yes. We remove trees that pose an unacceptable safety risk to people as well as hazardous trees that may cause damage to park and private property.


  • How many of the 87 trees slated for removal are mature trees?

It’s hard to say exactly how many are mature but based on the diameter of the trees I would estimate less than a third of them are mature. All of these are dead.


Details of removal schedule


Sligo Creek Parkway

  • Work will take place Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
  • Sligo Creek Parkway between Maple Avenue and Piney Branch Road will be closed on Thursday 10/28/21 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (weather permitting).
  • Intermittent lane closures of various sections of Sligo Creek Parkway may take place as needed, stay alert for signage.

Sligo Creek Trail

  • The trail will remain open during the work period, but short sections of the trail may be closed intermittently as needed.  Please follow signs and use caution around the work areas.