Tree Planting Regulations
Trees provide a beautiful landscape for our community. To help ensure a healthy and diverse urban forest, the City Council has established regulations which identify where and what trees can be planted in the community. (If you are thinking of planting new trees, please remember State law requires you to contact Gopher State One Call by dialing 811 at least 48 hours before doing any mechanical digging on the boulevard or in your yard!).
Boulevard/Public Right-of-Way Trees:
Boulevards are City-owned properties abutting any public street and the City has control and supervision over all shrubs and trees planted upon or overhanging all streets or other public property and right-of-ways. Occasionally the public may wish to plant trees in the boulevard. This is permitted if the property owner obtains authorization from the City Forester before planting. The applicant will be required to specify the type and size of tree and the location of where the tree will be planted.
When planting on the boulevard, the trees shall be planted:
- At intersections and for conifer trees, at least forty (40) feet from the backside of the curb, or the edge of the roadway if no curb.
- At intersections and for deciduous trees, at least thirty (30) feet from the backside of the curb, or the edge of the roadway if no curb.
- At least ten (10) feet from driveways and alleys.
- At least forty (40) feet on center for all large trees.
- At least thirty (30) feet on center for all medium trees.
- At least twenty-five (25) feet on center for all small trees.
- At least ten (10) feet from a fire hydrant.
- From the backside of the curb, a minimum distance of six (6) feet (in a direction away from the street).
- A minimum distance of ten (10) feet (in a direction away from the street) from the edge of the roadway, or from the backside of the curb where no sidewalks are present or anticipated.
- All deciduous trees at the time of planting on City property or public right-of-way shall be cultivated nursery stock with straight trunks not less than six (6) feet high.
- All conifer trees at the time of planting on City property or public right-of-way shall be cultivated nursery stock with straight trunks not less than three (3) feet high.
- No person shall plant shrubs within twenty (20) feet from the backside of the curb or within the public right-of-way. (A "shrub" is any plant material that has several stems growing up from the ground).
Only the following trees are allowed to be planted on the boulevard:
Small: Canada Red Cherry, Ironwood, Japanese Tree Lilac, Amur Maple, Amur Crab Apple, Flame Crab Apple, Red Splendor Crab Apple, Snowy Mountain Ash, Radiant Crab Apple, Russian Olive, Amur Choke Cherry. (A "small tree" is any plant material that will not grow to a height exceeding thirty (30) feet.)
Medium: Cleveland Norway Maple, Schwedler Norway Maple, Red Maple, Ohio Buckeye, Blue Ash, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Little Leaf Linden, Greenspire Linden. (A "medium tree" is any plant material that will grow to a height of thirty (30) to fifty (50) feet.)
Large: Norway Maple, Emerald Queen Norway Maple, Sugar Maple, Hackberry, White Ash, Ginkgo, Honey Locust Seedless and Thornless, Red Oak, Pin Oak, American Linden, Redmond Linden, White Oak, Douglas Fir. (A "large tree" is any plant material that will grow to a height exceeding fifty (50) feet.)
Plantings which are NOT allowed anywhere in the City include:
- Planting medium and large trees under or within ten (10) level feet of any overhead utility wire, over or within ten (10) lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, electric transmission line, or other utility line or pole.
- Planting any species of tree on public property or right-of-ways within the City unless authorization has been obtained from the City Forester.
- Planting the following species:
- Small: Cottonwood, Box Elder, Poplars.
- Medium: Soft Maple, Silver Maple, Willows.
- Large: Black Locust.
Care of Trees on Boulevards:
The City shall prune, maintain, and remove boulevard trees as may be necessary to ensure public safety, public access, or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
Care of Trees on Private Property:
Every owner or property abutting on any street shall trim, cut, and otherwise maintain all trees and shrubs from the line of such property nearest to such street to the center of such street in such a manner that the lowest branch of such trees shall not be less than eight (8) feet above the sidewalk and at least fourteen (14) feet above the street, and otherwise keep all trees, branches, and shrubs so trimmed and cut so as to provide clear site distance to traffic signs and not interfere with persons or their safety, using the streets or other public property. Such person shall remove the dead or diseased branches or limbs or trees which are or may become hazardous to the public use of such right-of-way.
Tree Worker License:
If you need assistance caring for your trees and you are thinking of hiring a contractor, we encourage you to check with the City before hiring someone. Only tree workers who have City licenses are allowed to operate in the community. This licensing procedure involves providing proof of insurance and bonding in order to protect our citizens. If you hire an unlicensed contractor you may have no recourse should you need it. Feel free to contact the Community Development Department office at (507) 934-0661 before hiring a contractor to verify that your tree worker is licensed.
Remember to call Gopher State One Call by dialing 811 before doing any digging!