Volunteer Citizen Pruner Job Description


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Citizen Pruners are volunteers who have completed a training course with the City of Ann Arbor Forestry Staff and the Ann Arbor Adopt-A-Park program that certifies them to work on public trees, shrubs and other beautification projects undertaken by the City. All work by these volunteers will be done under the supervision of and direction from the Urban Forestry Coordinator, Public Works Forestry Supervisor, and the NAP Volunteer and ​Outreach Coordinator. The program hopes to encourage all citizens to appreciate and enjoy the contribution that trees and other plantings make to the City environment. Volunteers may be using hand shears, lopping shears, pruning saws, pole pruners, and hedge shears to help City of Ann Arbor staff maintain trees on City property.​


Tree Care: All work will be done from the ground only

  • ​Removal of suckers from base of trees
  • Weeding around base of trees
  • Pruning damaged, dead, and diseased limbs within reach of the ground
  • Raising and removal of low branches on young trees for road and walk clearance
  • Pruning to shape young trees to ensure proper canopy structure
  • Cleaning up of all pruned limbs and other debris
  • Monitor and report tree problems and suggest sites for new trees

Shrub Care:

  • ​Maintenance pruning
  • Rejuvenation as necessary

Educating the public:

  • ​Educating others on tree species
  • Educating others on the importance and techniques of tree trimming
  • Understanding Street Tree Ordinance
  • Helping to promote the Citizen Pruner program
  • Understanding and promoting the recommendations of the City


  • ​Most trees and shrubs can be pruned during all but the hottest part of the year; however some plants will need to be pruned in specific seasons with most pruning taking place during the winter.
  • Pruning will take place at pruning workdays scheduled during the late autumn, winter, and early spring
  • Number of hours depends on many factors. Volunteers can expect to spend 4-6 hours per month on average

Safety and training

  • Each volunteer will receive instructions and information concerning the site and the scope of the pruning project.
  • All citizen pruners will need to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including: eye protection, leather gloves, a hard hat, and a safety vest.
  • Volunteers should always be alert and watchful when using tools. Before commencing work, the site should be monitored for potentially dangerous situations.

Certification requirements

  • Be able to fulfill volunteer tasks as listed above
  • Commitment to attending pruning workdays
  • Attending annual meeting with city staff to review tasks, receive instruction, and participate in trainings
  • Submit reports of trees that were maintained
  • Have an interest in and/or knowledge of trees and shrubs
  • Enthusiasm for acquiring new horticultural skills
  • Ability to communicate positively with the public
  • A concern for plants in the urban environment
  • Interest in community beautification
  • Ability to safely use small hand tools, overhead, working from ground level
  • Ability to lift up to 30 pounds
  • Access transportation to various sites in the Ann Arbor area


Kerry Gray, Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Planning Coordinator

Tina Stephens, NAP Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

​Ann Arbor Urban Forestry Coordinator and NAP Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator are responsible for:

  • ​Coordinating volunteer training and educational support
  • Providing technical guidance on pruning and maintenance tasks
  • Matching tasks and assignments with volunteers interests and constraints
  • Loaning tools as necessary​