Street Trees

** Due to COVID-19 budget cuts and layoffs, we are unable to provide this service for the foreseeable future. We will properly maintain those trees already planted and growing as best we can.

The Parks and  Recreation Department plants over 100 new and replacement street trees in the tree lawn area (between the sidewalk and curb) each year. There is no additional cost to the adjacent property owner for tree planting, but the City does request the property owner to water the tree for the first two years after planting.

The species of tree to be planted on a specific street, along with the planting location is determined by the City Forester. Every effort will be made to select a species compatible with the existing tree plantings on the street, the neighborhood identity, the mature size of the tree, space available for the tree to grow, the presence of underground and overhead utility lines, utility poles, streetlights, driveway approaches and fire hydrants.

If the information provided does not answer any questions you may have concerning the planting, pruning, and removal of street trees may call the Parks Forestry Unit at (314) 655-3656 or send an email to tbrunsman@richmondheights.org.

Street Tree Planting

By applying to have a street tree planted, the applicant:

  • Agrees to water the tree once each week, year-round, of the first two years after planting.
  • Understands that the tree is the property of the City and any pruning or removal of the tree will be by the City or under the City’s direction.
All planting applications will be processed in the order they are received. Due to the number of applications received, actual planting can take up to a year after an application is received.  We take requests year round but planting occurs in spring and fall only.  

If you would like to request a tree planting, send us an email at tbrunsman@richmondheights.org.

Street Tree Pruning

The Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for maintaining all public trees in the City - the majority of these trees are located along City streets in between the sidewalk (if applicable) and the curb. The goal of the pruning is to make the public trees as safe and healthy as possible and to minimize any conflicts with pedestrian and vehicular traffic, traffic control devices, and signs and buildings.

All pruning is performed according to the ‘Tree Pruning Guidelines’ developed by the International Society of Arboriculture and the ‘Tree Maintenance and Safety Standards’ (ANSI Z133.1 & ANSI A300) developed by the American National Standards Institute. These standards are the accepted standards of the tree care industry.

Pruning Operation

The City typically does Ordinance Pruning every year. We like to do this pruning in the Winter and early Spring when the trees are dormant though we do sometimes prune in the early fall too.

During the Ordinance Pruning operation, City staff attempts to achieve a minimum crown clearance of sixteen feet (16’) over center of street, twelve feet (12’) over the curb, and nine feet (9’) over sidewalks. All dead, dying, diseased and hazardous branches are also removed along with any vines that may be growing into the tree. All branches are pruned back from buildings, away from streetlights and are cleared from utility lines that run from utility poles to a house. Our goal is to not remove more than 20% of a tree’s healthy branches at any one time, but in safety certain situations where safety is concerned we may have to take more.

During the pruning operation, trees are also checked for any structural problems. All structural problems will either be corrected, or if beyond repair, the tree will be evaluated for possible removal.

All newly planted street trees are given additional pruning during the first two years after planting. This pruning is to ensure the young tree develops with a strong branch structure. During the first two years the tree stake will also be removed and the area around the tree re-mulched with wood chips.

Street Tree Removal

It is the policy of the City to protect all public trees from needless removal and every effort is made to preserve and protect public trees until such time removal is warranted and prudent.

There are many reasons why trees need to be removed in an urban area and City staff evaluates each tree considered for removal on a case-by-case basis. The criteria listed below are used by urban forestry staff when evaluating trees for possible removal. The criteria are not listed in order of importance and individually may not justify removal.

Tree Removal Criteria

The following criteria are used in evaluating a public tree for possible removal: 

  • Tree is dead or dying. 
  • The tree is deemed hazardous, when the hazardous condition cannot be corrected through pruning or other reasonable arboricultural practices. 

When trees are not deemed dead, dying or hazardous, the following factors will be considered: 

  • Life expectancy of the tree. 
  • Desirability of the tree species. 
  • Amount of space allowable for tree growth. 
  • Overall quality and structural integrity of the tree. 
  • Persistent and uncontrollable insect, disease or fruiting problems. 
  • Frequency and extensiveness of the tree’s maintenance requirements. 
  • Feasibility and timeliness in which a replacement tree will be planted. 
  • Proximity and quality of trees near to the one considered for removal. 
  • Wishes and desires of the adjacent property owner/resident 
  • Quality and extent of past pruning and other tree maintenance practices the tree has undergone. 
  • Extent and frequency of damage the tree is causing to surrounding infrastructure such as sidewalks, streets, sewers, etc. 
  • Location of the tree with regard to streetlights, traffic control devices, intersection sight lines and the requirements of the tree related to available growing space. 

Shortly after the tree is removed the stump will be ground out.

When trees to be removed are growing immediately in front of a single residence property and the resident has not requested the removal, staff will attempt to notify the occupants by leaving a card at the front door which states the reason for the removal and provides a phone number to call to receive further information.

The City tries to replant where trees have been removed, but in many instances the replacement tree may not be planted in the same spot due to the presence of utilities and other concerns.