Urban Forestry: Protecting Trees for a Greener Future

Welcome to Tips Tree Planting, your go-to resource for all things related to gardening and tree care. In our mission to promote a greener and more sustainable environment, we believe in the significant benefits that trees bring to our community. That’s why we’re diving deep into the world of urban forestry and the measures taken to protect public trees, landmark trees, native trees, and specimen trees in certain areas.

Public, Landmark, Specimen, and Native Trees

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Understanding the different classifications of trees is essential when it comes to urban forestry. Let’s break it down:

  1. Public trees are located on property owned or controlled by the city.
  2. Landmark trees hold historical significance, either due to their size, age, or association with a historic building, site, person, or event.
  3. Specimen trees are outstanding examples of desirable species, possessing distinctive form, size, or age. A list of 63 species is recognized as specimen trees.
  4. Native trees have a trunk size of more than 8 inches in diameter and belong to one of thirteen listed species.

Protection Measures for Public Trees

All public trees are protected by an ordinance that prohibits pruning, removal, injury, or planting without proper authorization. In addition, no attachments are permitted, such as wires, ropes, signs, or nails. Requests for out-of-cycle pruning or planting must be submitted to the Public Works Department for review.

When it comes to the removal of public trees, the City Manager or designee carefully considers several criteria, including the tree’s health, age, viability, and performance. The decision also takes into account the tree’s alignment with the Master Street Tree Plan, General Plan policies and objectives, and how it enhances the urban design strategy of the area.

Protecting Native and Specimen Trees

In specific zoning districts, such as single-family residential and RM-12, native and specimen trees are safeguarded in established front yards, corner side yards, and required side and rear yards. Any portion of a tree located within these designated areas comes under protection.

Landmark Trees: A Heritage Worth Preserving

Landmark trees hold a special place in our hearts as they contribute to the beauty of our surroundings. These trees are protected in all areas, including private property. To designate a tree as a landmark, anyone can submit a nomination, reviewed by the Cultural Heritage Commission. Upon City Council approval and with no objections from the property owner, the tree is officially designated as a landmark and a covenant is recorded.

Tree Protection Guidelines: Ensuring the Well-being of Trees

To preserve the health and integrity of trees during construction projects, the City Council has adopted tree protection guidelines. These guidelines outline measures to avoid mechanical injury to tree roots, trunks, or branches, soil compaction, and changes to existing grades that may harm tree roots. A tree protection plan must be submitted and approved before the start of any construction, showing the impact on trees both on-site and adjacent properties.

Tree Removal and Pruning

Removing a landmark, native, or specimen tree is subject to specific conditions. Requests for removal must demonstrate public benefit, safety concerns, or substantial hardships to the property owner. Additionally, a landscape design plan that compensates for the loss of tree canopy may be required.

Pruning of non-protected trees, specimen trees, or native trees on private property does not require a permit. However, for designated landmark trees, a permit is necessary. Pruning must adhere to the latest standards set by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

Exemptions and Penalties

Certain exemptions exist regarding permit requirements for tree removal, such as hazardous trees or compliance with electrical line regulations. However, violating the ordinance or approved tree protection plan can result in misdemeanor charges, up to six months imprisonment, and fines up to $1,000. Civil penalties, late payment fees, administration fees, and tree replacement costs may also apply.

At Tips Tree Planting, we believe that by understanding and implementing urban forestry practices, we can create a greener and more sustainable future. For more tips, tricks, and expert advice on tree planting and care, visit Tips Tree Planting. Together, let’s make our communities bloom with beauty and nature.

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