Street Trees

ReLeaf Cedar Rapids

Street Trees
center point beforeStreet trees principally shelter sidewalks, where they reduce urban heat islands and protect pedestrians from vehicles. Streets comprise the vast majority of Cedar Rapids’ public spaces, and their trees play a large role in making them hospitable places where the bonds of community can form.

Find information about the planting of street trees in Chapter 9 (Flip Book). Learn about the following:

  • Street Tree Rules
  • Discussions on tree spacing and species distributioncenter point after the derecho
  • Strategies for planting at special locations including downtown streets, gateway corridors, and neighborhood streets that were built without trees
  • A system for ordering the replanting of streets, in which priority is determined based on eight factors including derecho tree loss, pedestrian activity, and the social vulnerability of the neighborhood
  • Measures for improving the street tree supply chain

Tree Watering in the City Right-of-Way:

  1. Newly planted trees should receive 15-20 gallons of water every seven to ten days unless it rains more than an inch.
  2. It is acceptable for soil to become dry between each watering.
  3. A contractor is responsible for watering trees every seven to ten days for two years after planting.
  4. If any trees fail during that time, the contractor must replace them.
  5. The City is working on ways to help reduce watering times during dry and hot conditions. We hope to implement new watering initiatives in the next few weeks.

If residents want to water right-of-way trees, we suggest they provide new trees with 15-20 gallons of water every seven to ten days while it is dry. It is better to water all at once than just a little at a time. It is acceptable for the soil to become dry between each watering. Trees do not need to be watered if it rains more than an inch during the week.

Street Planting Priority

It is the goal of ReLeaf Cedar Rapids to replant all public streets within a decade. One of the biggest and most difficult tasks of the plan is to create a timeline for this work that reflects the plan’s principals and goals. The Street Tree Planting Prioritization, must balance competing factors, giving appropriate weight to each.

There is no single right answer to this challenge; the important thing is to establish a transparent, justifiable, methodology and to apply it consistently. Over 7,500 street locations were evaluated and scored based on eight factors: prior canopy, urban heat islands, population density, social vulnerability, derecho tree loss, pedestrian infrastructure demand, roadway classification, and available planting sites. This resulted in numerical prioritization that is represented in the Overall Ranking.

This is simply a prioritization of where planting happens first, not where it happens; the plan is to replant the whole city. The prioritization system may be flawed, but it represents an earnest effort to turn the plan’s principles into action.

When Will MY Street Get Trees?
Prioritized street mapOver the next 10 years every street segment within the City limits will be planted to the extent that planting sites are available. Efforts are designed to align with the greatest need as determined through the Street Tree Planting Prioritization ranking.

The ReLeaf plan provides City staff with a year-by-year breakdown of street segments to focus on. The first ten years of the plan are “scaling” years in which the City will be planting and caring for just over 1,700 trees each year. In year three, the number jumps to 3,850 trees a year for the remainder of the plan. The scaling years give the City time to add staff and equipment to meet the plan goals and allow for the supply chain to catch up to demand. A total of 34,230 new street trees will be planted and cared for during the life of this plan.

An interactive mapping service is being developed that will allow residents to search their street address to learn which year the ReLeaf planting efforts are scheduled to happen outside their front door. This tool will also track progress made over the years of the plan.

How to Expedite the Planting of MY Street Tree
If you prefer not to wait for the City’s planting crews to arrive on your street, citizens are welcome to plant their own street trees within the public right-of-way adjacent to their property at any time planting conditions are favorable. A permit must first be submitted and approved before planting and the species must be selected from the ReLeaf Tree List. Instructions on how to plant a tree are found on pages 48-49 of the plan. Tree spacing requirements must also be met when planting in the right-of-way.

When Will My Stump be Removed
Work will proceed with stump removals beginning in the end of February. Crews will work on removals consistently on a quadrant by quadrant basis.

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