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Chapter 31 – Regulating The Planting, Care & Trimming of Trees






3-31-1              Purpose
3-31-2              Definitions
3-31-3              Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice
3-31-4              Removal of Trees
3-31-5              Duty to Trim Trees
3-31-6              Trimming of Trees Under the Supervision of the Public Works Director
3-31-7              Nuisance and Condemnation or Protection
3-31-8              Penalty
3-31-9              Severability Clause
3-31-10            Riders to Permits
3-31-11            Penalty             


SECTION 3-31-1                  PURPOSE.  The purpose of this ordinance is to beautify and preserve the appearance of the City by requiring street trees to be uniformly located and maintained. The primary responsibility for maintaining street trees is placed upon the abutting property owner or his agent; but the Public Works Director shall personally supervise any cutting or trimming of said trees.

SECTION 3-31-2                  DEFINITIONS. For use in this ordinance, the following terms are defined:

(1)   The term “person” shall mean individual, firm, corporation, trust, association or other organized group.

(2)   The “street” shall mean the entire width between property lines of avenues or highways.

(3)   The term “parking” shall mean that part of the street, avenue or highway in the city not covered by sidewalk and laying between the lot lines and curb line; or, on unpaved street, that part of the street, avenue or highway lying between the lot line and that portion of the street usually traveled by vehicular traffic.

(4)   The term “property owner” shall mean a person owning private property in the city as shown by the county auditor’s plats of the city.

(5)   The term “public property” shall mean any and all property located within the confines of the city and owned by the city or held in the name of the city by any of the departments, commissions or agencies within the city government.


 (1)   Planting  Trees shall not be planted on the parking if it is less than eight feet in width, or contains less than eighty-one (81) square feet of exposed soil surface. Trees shall not be planted closer than twenty-five (25) feet to street intersections (property lines extended) and five (5) feet to driveways. Only trees projected to have a height of twenty-one feet or less may be planted under utility lines. Trees must be planted with the center of the planting hole not closer than one (foot) from underground gas or electric utilities. All trees must be of the kind, type and size recommended by the Board and approved by the City Council. A list of acceptable trees shall be on file with the City Clerk, however, this list is not exclusive as to the type of tree which my fit the area as there are many trees which may not be on the list but would be acceptable to the area of planting 

(2)   Grade. Unless otherwise allowed for substantial reasons, all standard sized trees shall have comparatively straight trunks, well-developed leaders, and top and root characteristics of the species or variety showing evidence of proper nursery pruning. All trees must be free of insect, disease, mechanical injuries and other objectionable features at the time of planting. All new planted trees shall have a height of no less than five feet above the ground.

(3).   Support.  Trees may be guyed or supported in an upright position according to accepted arboricultural practices. The guys or supports shall be fastened in such a way that they not griddle or cause serious injury to the trees or endanger public safety.

(4)   Trimming or Pruning.  All cuts are to be made sufficiently closer to the parent stem so that healing can readily start under normal conditions. If pruning of the top of existing trees is needed due to overhead utility lines the Director of Public Works should be contacted before pruning. The stag tops should be pruned to nearest crotch in a lateral branch or to nearest crotch of the central leader.

SECTION 3-31-4                  REMOVAL OF TREESThe Public Works Director shall remove, on the order of the council, any trees on the streets of this municipality which interferes with the making of improvements or with travel thereon. He shall additionally remove any trees on the street, not on private property, which have become diseased, or which constitute a danger to the public, or which may otherwise be declared a nuisance. Any diseased tree cut down should be burned or removed to a designated disposal area immediately.

SECTION  3-31-5                 DUTY TO TRIM TREES. The owner or agent of the abutting property shall keep the trees on, or overhanging the street and sidewalks trimmed so that all branches will be at least fifteen feet above the surface of the street and ten feet above the sidewalks.

SECTION 3-31-6                  TRIMMING OF TREES UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR. Except as allowed in Section 3, no person may trim or cut any tree in a street or public place unless the work is done under personal supervision of the Public Works Director.

SECTION 3-31-7                  NUISANCE AND CONDEMNATION OR PROTECTION. No person shall intentionally damage, cut carve, attach any rope, wire, nail advertising posters or other contrivance to any tree (except to protect, brace or straighten) or set fire or permit fire to burn which such fire will injure any portion of the tree.

SECTION 3-31-8                  PENALTY.  Anyone violating any of the provisions of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, guilty of a misdemeanor and be subject to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or a fine not exceeding $100.00

SECTION 3-31-9                  SEVERABILITY CLAUSE. If any section, provision or part of this ordinance shall be adjudged invalid or unconstitutional, such adjudication shall not affect the validity of the ordinance as a whole or any other section or provision thereof which is not adjudge invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 3-31-10                RIDERS TO PERMITS.  The City Council shall authorize a member of the Tree Board to attend a seminar for the purpose of training him or her in the care of trees in all respects and shall pay for expense of the seminar.

SECTION 3-31-11    WHEN EFFECTIVE.  This ordinance shall be in effect after its final passage, approval and publication as provided by law

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