Parks Conservancy Staff Bundles Up For Important Winter Work

December 27, 2018 by Parks Conservancy Staff

A question that our field staff gets often from park users is, "What do you do in the winter?" One thing that our mighty field staff does not do is shy from Pittsburgh's blistery cold days. 

Image of Parks Conservancy staff pruning trees in Frick Park

As plants lay dormant, you can find our staff bundled nose to toes in warm layers and heavy boots, tackling projects out in your parks. Their two main work objectives? Developmental tree pruning and woodland restoration. 

Developmental Tree Pruning

The purpose of developmental tree pruning is to train the young trees that we plant to have strong branch structure. Winter is the best time to remove dead or diseased branches - the chances of spreading disease and insects are low because they, like trees, are dormant.

Staff use pole pruners with different attachments to reach branches

Trees that we prune are usually 25' and under

The trees that we prune are usually under 25’ tall. It can take several years to train a tree to develop proper branch structure. 


In park woodlands, our staff spends the warm months controlling herbaceous invasives. But in the winter, we switch over to managing woody invasives such as vines, large bush honeysuckle, Norway maples, and other invasive bush and tree species.

Our staff use loppers and chainsaws for woodland restoration work

With all of the leaves fallen from the trees, our staff can more easily move through the forest and identify what needs to be cut or removed.

Working as a group, you can find Parks Conservancy staff in different park woodlands week by week. Thanks to their work, our native trees and plants are given a big advantage over pests and invasive competitors come spring.

- Angela Yuele, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Horticulturist

Trees and Forestry, Parks Management, Restoration Projects