The City of Newport is currently using its available funds for management and proactive care of our existing trees. For this reason, there is not a public tree planting program run by the City. However, there are a couple options for those interested in having a street tree in front of their property:
- Option 1: Obtain City Permission and Plant One Yourself. Adjacent property owners can plant a street tree themselves, but only with prior permission from the City Arborist. This ensures the right trees are planted in the right places, ensuring longer lived trees that aren't severely pruned by utility companies. Any tree planted without prior permission of the City is subject to removal and fines.
- Option 2: Community Plantings. Additionally, the City often works with community groups that run tree planting programs. Approach your neighborhood association to see if plantings are scheduled in your area.
No matter which option, there are some parameters to ensure the right tree gets planted in the right space:
- Is there enough space? To plant a street tree, there needs to be a minimum of 3-4' of tree lawn (distance from street curb to sidewalk edge) to plant a tree. Aim to stay 5' away from water/electric lines which are marked on the curbs. Note that ADA requirements (American Disabilities Act) state that the sidewalk must be 4' in width. The City Arborist can help determine if you have enough space for a street tree.
- Which tree species to choose? There are many options that will work as street trees, and many more cultivars (variations of existing trees) that come on the market every year.
- Are overhead utilities present? If there are no power lines overhead (communication lines are OK) all trees planted should be medium-large size (at maturity) trees to aid the community in growing our tree canopy to improve air and water quality and improve quality of life in Newport.
- No Power Lines. If there are no power lines present, there are many many native and non-native choices of trees to plant, including (but not limited to) lindens, maples, tulip poplars, oaks, ginkgos, elms, zelkova, and more.
- Under Power Lines. A tree that has a mature height of 25 feet or under, like a redbud, dogwood, Japanese tree lilac, single stem serviceberry, amur maple, etc. Any nursery can help you choose one if you tell them you are planting under utility lines.
- Tree Species Prohibited:
- Ash (Fraxinus species): All ash trees are currently dying off thanks to the Emerald ash borer pest.
- Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana): Flowering pears have been identified now as an invasive species.
- Crabapples (Malus species) and mulberries (Morus species): Fruit debris can be a nuisance on sidewalks depending on the variety.
- Evergreens like pines, spruce, arborvitae, etc. are not ideal because of car and pedestrian clearance issues that are created.
- Questions? Any nursery can help you choose one if you tell them whether you have overhead utility lines. Explore your options with tree nursery staff and present your choice to the City Arborist when you apply for permission to plant your tree. The City Arborist will help adjust the selection if it is deemed inappropriate for the location.