Who do I call to get permission to plant a street tree in front of my house?

Jurisdiction and authority over streetside planting spaces vary across the United States. In some localities, the city retains complete control over street tree planting.  In other localities, the adjacent private property owner is responsible for the space and is encouraged to either request a tree planting by the city or to plant a tree independently. This may entail either submitting a formal tree planting request or applying for a tree planting permit. In many cases, the city will provide a tree for free or low cost. Civic groups will often provide a tree and even plant it as part of a community greening program. It is important to follow a planting permit process (if one exists) in order to ensure that an appropriate type of tree is planted and to document the tree for future inspection and maintenance needs. Information on street tree planting is usually available from the municipal government office.


Another item to keep in mind is the right kind of tree for that space.  In many cases, below ground (sidewalk, road, underground utlilities) and above ground (telephone or electric lines) space is limited. If you have the decision making power of what kind of tree to plant, research your options so that  the tree you choose is well suited to the site. Your local Cooperative Extension office is a good place to start for a list of locally suitable trees where above and/or below ground space is limited.

Contributed by P. Eric Wiseman, Associate Professor of Urban Forestry, Virginia Tech