Urban Reforestation Program Policy

The purpose of the Urban Reforestation Policy is to provide a healthy and diverse tree population and support the City’s vision regarding environmental stewardship. Reforestation will aim to distribute trees evenly throughout the City by species with a goal to use no more than 10% of any genus or 5% of any one species. By limiting the planting of single species to 10% the urban forest will not be as impacted by invasive species or diseases in the future. The City’s current tree inventory, which is shown on Figure 1, will serve as a baseline towards meeting species diversity goals. Reforestation is achieved through the following programs:

Ash Tree Replacement: A Six-Year Replacement Program established to meet the goal to plant a tree for all Ash trees removed (if feasible).

Shared Cost Parkway Tree Replacement Program: Goal to plant a tree as a non-Ash tree is removed as property owner participation allows.

Permitted Parkway Tree Planting on Public R-O-W: Upon approval by the Forestry Superintendent, private entities may plant parkway trees that are in compliance with the Parkway Tree Planting Standards of the City Code and Zoning Ordinance.

The comprehensive replacement strategy is to maximize tree diversity and general health of the urban forest based on the inventory with an emphasis on species diversity, restoring canopy cover, locations, planting instructions, and future care information. Trees will be planted in accordance with ANSI A300 Tree Care Operations and the City’s tree planting standards.

The City adopted an EAB Management Plan in 2013 to address the infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer. The Plan identified a phasing for the removal and replacement of ash trees. In 2014, the removal schedule was accelerated and will be completed in 2015. Less than 300 parkway trees are currently being voluntarily treated by property owners and will continue to be monitored. At the end of the removal process, approximately 6500 ash trees will have been removed; representing 28% of the 23,000 City parkway trees.

Ash Tree Reforestation Plan
The restoration of the parkway and open space planting areas will be prioritized using natural or subdivision areas based on the concentration of Ash trees removed. Exhibit A – Ash Distribution Citywide establishes the concentration of Ash tree by area. Those areas with the highest percentage of tree loss are identified as priority areas for tree planting shown in Exhibit B – Ash Distribution in Areas.

Factors considered in the development of the reforestation plan:

  • Re-stock the open planting spaces created by EAB infested Ash tree removals by the end of 2020.
  • Provide a one-for-one tree replacement which means that a tree is planted to replace every public tree that is lost (if feasible).
  • Maximize the diversity of our urban forest by planting no more than 10% of one tree genus or 5% of any one species as recommended in the EAB Management Plan of 2013.
  • Establish a greater diversity of tree species, sizes, and conditions, to create a healthier community forest. This will also prevent future large-scale losses in trees due to the infestation of pests.
  • Species to be rotated as much as possible per block trying to mix species so the same species are not adjacent to one another. In some areas of the City, the choices may be limited in order to prevent overplanting of a single species in each area. Choices and location of tree species will be determined in accordance with the diversity plan.
  • Planting distribution throughout City to phase aging of the tree population.
  • In order to adhere to this plan, property owners will not determine the types of trees planted. Property owners may apply to accelerate the planting schedule with payment of full tree replacement cost.
  • To plant native trees where possible. This minimizes the detrimental effects of exotic species.
  • To optimize natural aesthetics and wildlife habitat.
  • Primarily planting parkway trees although trees will also be planted in public open spaces.
  • Location hazards caused by utilities, i.e. for above ground - trees located in parkways with overhead utilities would require shorter mature heights to eliminate interference with wires or for below ground – avoid interference with water, sewer, or electrical services.
  • Nursery stock availability in future years; i.e. species, tree size (caliber), quantities.
  • Tree planting will be subject to available space.

This reforestation plan represents a comprehensive and well-balanced approach to reforestation which takes into account science, policy, ecology, economics, and common sense. Utilizing the City’s existing tree inventory, we have surveyed the locations where Ash trees were removed, and have hand-selected tree species with which to replace them. These choices were made based on the need for the City to maximize its taxonomic and spatial diversity, as well as to match tree species to their preferred environmental tolerances. This approach represents a long-term view of and investment in the City’s Urban Forest.

Ash Tree Reforestation Plan Funding
In August 2014, the City Council authorized City funding for the full replacement cost per tree rather than replacement through the Shared Cost Tree Replacement Program. The Ash Tree Reforestation budget as proposed includes the average per tree replacement cost of $265.

The development of a Master Reforestation Plan is proposed in Year 2 – FY 15/16 and will serve as a strategic plan to determine the best species for each planting space, and the order in which they will be replanted over the next 5 years. This plan will maximize the Species Diversity, Spatial Diversity, and Age-Class Diversity, of new plantings on the City’s parkways, as well as provide locations and species selections for the open planting spaces, such that diversity at all scales will be maximized. The Plan will also define a specific timeline, and strategically plant trees in their optimal locations to reduce new planting mortality, and increase long-term health and vigor. The initial development of the plan is approximately $14,000 and will require an annual review for the next 4 years, estimated at $3,000 per year.

Year Trees
to Plant
Budget Criteria
Year 1
FY 14-15
500 $140,600 Replacement location of trees scheduled through Shared Cost Program participation.
Year 2
FY 15-16
500 $152,000 Development of Master Reforestation Plan. Concentrate planting in  Areas 1 through 
5 designated on the Ash Tree Distribution Map. 100 trees will be located in each area.
Year 3
FY 16-17
1,000 $278,000 Plant 1000 trees in accordance with Master Reforestation Plan.
Year 4
FY 17-18
1,000 $303,000 Plant 1000 trees in accordance with Master Reforestation Plan. 
Monitor planting distribution pattern.
Year 5
FY 18-19
1,000 $303,000 Continue replacement of 1000 trees.
Monitor planting distribution pattern
Year 6
FY 19-20
1,000 $303,000 Continue replacement of 1000 trees.
Monitor planting distribution pattern
Total 5,000 $1,339,500  

Shared Cost Parkway Tree Replacement Program
The City’s existing Shared Cost Parkway Tree Replacement program will continue for non-Ash tree replacements. The annual budget of $30,000 estimates 100 trees to be replaced.

Forestry Superintendent will monitor and enforce the implementation of the Urban Reforestation Plan utilizing in-house staff and necessary contractual services.

(*Data as of January 2015)

Major Species Count Percent
Maple 8308 49%
Honeylocust 2340 14%
Other 2110 12%
Ash 443 3%
Crabapple 1389 8%
Elm 656 4%
Linden 535 3%
Oak 524 3%
Callery Pear 395 2%
Ginkgo 208 1%
Total 16908 100%