VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta has amended its tree ordinance after businesses raised concerns over citations they received for not properly pruning crepe myrtle trees.
How to properly prune crepe myrtle trees has been a hot topic in the city the last few months.
"If they're chopped you get into putting the tree into a state of starvation," explains urban forestry supervisor Kevin Jenkins.
In January Bradley Adams had to remove six crepe myrtle trees from his business since the way they were pruned didn't comply with the city's ordinance.
"They were not trimmed to the city ordinance and our only recourse was to have those trees removed and destroyed," Adams explains, "so that's what we had to do with those trees."
Adams received a citation in January telling him to remove the trees or pay a fine. He ended up digging up all 6 crepe myrtles.
Since then city leaders took another look at the ordinance and decided to make some changes. Now businesses will be given a warning first followed by increasing fines.
"We can issue a warning for topping of crepe myrtles where before that wasn't an option," says Jenkins.
Along with the warning businesses will have opportunities to learn more about properly pruning the trees. The city will offer classes and online guides to help landscapers and business owners. Jenkins says the guidelines are there to keep the trees healthy.
"It gives us an opportunity to do a lot of educating before we actually have to issue citations," Jenkins says.
Even though Adams had to remove his trees he says he's happy the city listened to his concerns.
"I think it's something we can all live with now. I think it's fair for everybody now," says Adams.
The new ordinance applies to businesses and not residential properties. After getting a warning the fine for not properly pruning the tree starts at $250.