Residents can call 859-292-3686 to contact the Newport Community Services Department or can email the city’s arborist Rachel Comte regarding any tree issue or question.
The City of Newport recognizes the value of trees within the community (described at right). As such, Newport’s goal is to, at minimum, maintain the existing tree canopy cover (amount of city covered by trees when viewed from above) at the current 33%, while working to improve the quality and health of the current canopy as well as equalize the tree canopy cover between neighborhoods - all while maintaining public safety.
The City has taken a number of steps to work toward the tree canopy goals described above:
Proactive Tree Care Program. Proactive care started in Zone 2 (primarily Buena Vista and down the northern sections of Monmouth). As this zone was re-inventoried in 2018, proactive pruning (for better structure, health, and clearance from structures, people and cars) is scheduled for summer 2019 and will greatly extend the life of Newport’s street trees. The next zone (TBA) will be re-inventoried as well in 2019 in advance of 2020 proactive care.
Safety Check. Each year, all 3,100 + publicly-owned trees will be checked for imminent safety issues.
Volunteer Young Tree Pruning Program.
During the winter of 2019, twenty volunteers were trained by the City’s arborist both in the classroom and in the field to structurally pruning young trees. This group then assisted the city arborist in structurally pruning young trees across the city. Through the months of March and April 2019, over 700 young trees were structurally pruned. This important step should happen within the first 3-5 years after a tree is planted because it greatly extends a street tree’s life by making them less prone to storm damage, disease and failure. By performing this task with volunteers, the we greatly reduce the number of trees that will be required to be pruned by a hired contractor and saving our city money, while teaching the community a new skill.
City Tree Ordinance Update. The city’s tree ordinance is being updated based on best practices in tree care by municipalities across the country. Our updates to the tree ordinance have been submitted to the Newport Board of Commissioners for approval in 2019. UPDATE: The new tree ordinance was adopted on July 22, 2019, view Ordinance O-2019-011 here.
Ash Tree Management. As in 2018, a risk assessment will be done on the remaining 88 ash trees on public land during 2019. Only those having higher risk ratings will be slated for removal. More information can be found here.
Community Tree Planting Support. The city will continue to provide support for a community tree planting day. Plantings are handled by numerous community groups and usually occur in October. The city assists with tree distribution and concrete cut outs as well as other assistance as needed.
Tree Resource. The city arborist will continue to respond to public requests with any questions on trees on public lands in Newport. To contact our certified arborist, email Rachel Comte or contact the Community Services Department at 859-292-3686.
2018 Tree Program Summary
City Arborist Hired. In 2018, a new certified arborist was hired on a part time basis to care for public trees.
Proactive Care Program Initiated. 10 management zones were established across the city to effectively manage all public trees and a GIS-based tree inventory system was reestablished. Tree within the first zone (Zone 2) were re-inventoried (updated) which includes all of Monmouth within the northern part of the city, along with most of the Buena Vista neighborhood.
Safety Check. Checked all 3,100 + publicly-owned trees within the city for imminent safety issues.
Ash Tree Management Program Initiated. A risk assessment was performed on 120 ash trees on public land. 35 ash were selected for removal based on worst condition and highest risk to public.
New Planting Support. New trees were planted at Bernadette Watkins Park, and City continued to support community tree planting events which installed trees in west Newport.
Update the City Tree Ordinance. Recommended changes to the tree ordinance were submitted to the Board of Commissioners for consideration.
Duke Energy is scheduled to prune tree branches away from overhead power lines in the East Row neighborhood starting in February and continuing through the spring of 2020. Learn more here.
Residents are invited to review this Summary and Highlights of the Tree Ordinance.
The Importance of
In cities across the country, there are many residents who lament the presence of urban trees, citing a number of problems. The most common of which are that they are messy, damage sidewalks and are sources of potential property damage from falling limbs or total tree failure. However, thanks to new technology and modeling tools, trees have now been proven as valuable city infrastructure and critical to vibrant communities because of the benefits they provide, with benefits shown to outweigh the maintenance related work associated with trees.
Urban trees have proven to be an effective tool across multiple city management areas, including planning, economic development, public health, and sanitation. They have been proven to alleviate water and air pollution, improve public health, increase property value, and enhance the success of business districts.
On an annual basis, cities often see a strong return on investment related to tree costs and benefits. A recent five-city study found that cities accrued benefits ranging from $1.50–$3.00 for every dollar invested in trees (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2015).
Unlike man-made systems, trees are the only urban infrastructure that actually increase services and value over time. As trees mature, benefits increase exponentially, unlike more traditional city infrastructure such as roads and bridges that deteriorate with age.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a pest from Asia that has been killing ash trees in the US since it was found in 2002 near Detroit, MI. By 2009 it had migrated to our area (largely through sale of infested firewood). See the Figure 6 for the latest infestation map. Once infected, an ash tree can die within just 4-5 years, and often become extremely brittle and lose limbs well before death. Though treatment options do exist, they are expensive and must be reapplied regularly. To learn more about the emerald ash borer, visit: UK College of Agriculture.