Desert Harvesters/Neighborhood Foresters FREE Hands-On Neighborhood Tree Pruning & Mulching Workshop


Neighborhood volunteer pruning crewMeet at Dunbar/Spring Community Garden/Orchard (NW corner of 11th Ave & University Blvd)

After the pruning and mulching demonstration, we will move to various parts of the neighborhood to get hands-on experience with certified arborist Aleck as we prune native and domesticated food-bearing trees in our neighborhood’s public rights-of-way.

This is an incredible learning opportunity as every six month we revisit and rework areas pruned so we see the effect of our good work and mistakes, thereby enabling us to improve and evolve with the expert guidance from Aleck.

Professionals can also get continued education credits for the workshop from Aleck.


Local certified arborist Aleck MacKinnon, The Pedaling Arborist; assisted by Brad Lancaster of Desert Harvesters and Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond; Omar Ore-Giron of Native Roots Gardening and Desert Harvesters, and Rocky Yosek of Trees for Tucson will teach participants:

  • Best pruning times, techniques, and tools;
  • How best to maintain City clearance standards for trees in the public right-of-way along footpaths and streets; and
  • How to reuse prunings (cut up with hand tools or chipped with chipper/shredder) as an aesthetically-pleasing, water-conserving, fertility-enhancing mulch.

After the pruning, we will turn the prunings into mulch with a chipper/shredder that will be brought into the neighborhood.

This way the pruned biomass is recycled back into the root zone of the trees it came from. Nothing is thrown away or removed from the natural system. And we feed, rather than degrade the living soil carbon sponge.

  • Bring your own pruning tools, though Trees for Tucson will provide tools for those that lack them

This is how to transform wasteful Brush & Bulky into resourceful Chipped & Mulchy

Come learn how you can replicate and evolve this practice to grow more healthy forests and citizen foresters in your neighborhood.

  • This workshop is open to, and can be attended by, EVERYONE, no matter what neighborhood you live in.

NOTE: All public rights-of-way in front of properties must maintain a minimum continuous clear walkway area 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall to make our neighborhood walkways and forests easily navigable for all.

See our Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Walkability Study

Sponsored by the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Foresters and Desert Harvesters

Chipping Service (by donation): Turn “wastes” into resources, as you transform your prunings into mulch

Shortly after the pruning-workshop day, we will rent and operate industrial chipper-shredder to quickly turn prunings into mulch. To cover costs he will be asking for a minimum donation of $30 per property for those using the chipper services. This is an amazing deal, as this would ordinarily cost well over $100 per property.

Pruning Service by (by donation): A minimum donation of $30 to $50 per site (range based on amount of pruning needed) for those unable to prune the trees in their adjoining section of the public right-of-way, or those looking for assistance. This too is an amazing deal, as this would ordinarily cost well over $100 – $200 per site.

Pruning Requirements and Guidelines for Neighborhood Mulching Service:

  • Contact Omar (, 520-425-9795) by Saturday, September 8, to let him know you want your prunings mulched. Suggested minimum donation is $30.
  • All public rights-of-way adjoining all properties must maintain/prune a continuous clear walkway a minimum 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall, so two people can comfortably walk along the path side by side without having to duck under limbs. Violations are subject to a citation from the City of Tucson.
  • All piles of prunings left beside street curb (for chipping into mulch) should contain ONLY freshly pruned green limbs 3” in diameter or less.
  • No old, dry dead wood will be chipped into mulch, as this dulls the chipper blades too quickly.
  • Pile branches so branch butts/cut ends are all facing in the same direction. This helps ensure that the pile of prunings is not tangled, but rather is orderly and therefore easy to take apart to chip into mulch.
  • Wide branch “crotches” or “V’s” should be cut at their base, so the branch will fit into the chipper (no diameter can exceed 3 inches).
  • All piles must be on the street curbside before chipping service arrives on site.

This is a wonderful opportunity to:

  • Meet neighbors, build community, and expand your knowledge of local plants and ecology
  • Prune your trees in a way that will improve their health and reduce future need to prune
  • Make walking and bicycling in our neighborhood more convenient, enjoyable, and safe
  • Keep our trees’ useful biomass and fertility in our neighborhood
  • Increase our living soil’s ability to bioremediate/filter pollutants
  • Enhance our soil’s ability to absorb and hold onto water—lessening flooding AND reducing water bills, and
  • Maximize the amount of carbon we can beneficially sequester in our soils and trees.

Bring hat, work gloves, water bottle, and pruning tools if you have them (we will also have some for those without).

If you have trees in need of some pruning, prunings in need of chipping into mulch, or would like to participate, please contact: Omar Ore-Giron, Dunbar/Spring resident and owner of Native Roots Landscaping, at or (520) 425-9795.

Neighborhood Tags