What was wrong with the previous tree ordinance?

The City’s tree ordinance was last updated in 1969 as part of the City’s effort to address Dutch elm disease. Many of the policies that were enacted in 1969 are outdated and do not align with modern forestry practices. For example, the previous ordinance stated that only ash trees and maple trees could be planted in a boulevard, which does not promote tree species diversity. Diversity within tree species, genus, and family is crucial to protecting the community from a major tree loss due to an invasive insect or disease that wipes out one type of tree. Additionally, the previous tree ordinance did not include boulevard width standards which led to large shade trees being planted in small boulevards where they outgrew the space in which they were planted and damaged the sidewalk, curb, and underground utilities. 

Approximately 90-95% of tree roots exist in the top 3 feet of soil, and more than half are within the top 1 foot of soil.  From a tree’s perspective, small boulevards lack adequate soil volume and this requires tree roots to grow into any nearby crevice with soil and oxygen. Boulevard trees with roots that encroach a sidewalk or street are more susceptible to root cutting during infrastructure work which leads to reduced health, reduced anchoring ability, and windthrow (where a tree is uprooted and tipped over by wind). 

Show All Answers

1. What was wrong with the previous tree ordinance?
2. What does the updated tree ordinance do?
3. Who wrote the new ordinance?
4. My boulevard is only 3 feet wide. Why won’t the City allow trees in boulevards that are less than 5 feet wide?
5. My neighborhood recently had all the boulevard trees removed due to emerald ash Borer, and the boulevard on my street has only 3 feet of greenspace. Is there an exception I can apply for to get a t
6. My boulevard is only 3 feet wide. What options do I have to restore the tree canopy in my neighborhood?
7. When will my tree be removed?
8. Does the City have a plan or a budget for planting new trees in boulevards that are wide enough to accommodate a tree?
9. Do I need to wait for the City to plant a tree for me, or can I plant my own boulevard tree?