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Street Trees & Urban Forestry

The City is committed to helping keep the area’s tree canopy healthy and strong. These efforts not only ensure cleaner air and promote a healthy ecosystem, but they boost property values and help support the economic future of the City. Investing in trees also helps the City protect local creeks and streams and enhances the aesthetic of the community’s streets and parks. Recognized as a member of Tree USA for nearly two decades, the City is dedicated to planting new trees when appropriate and believes it is important to replenish the tree canopy on a regular basis. The City does this by replacing a designated number of trees each year that are deemed no longer viable. This practice has helped the City establish a healthy, sustainable urban forestry program.


FAQ’s and Additional Information:

I was told the tree in front of my house is my responsibility. Is this true?

Yes! Street trees are required for all partitions, subdivisions, and planned unit developments in the City.  It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain and care for their respective street trees to ensure their long-term health.

The City planted a tree for me. What do I do to take care of it?

Watering
It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure newly planted trees receive adequate water. Deep root watering is a method that slowly carries water 8 to 12 inches below ground. This technique delivers water directly to the roots of a tree instead of just wetting the surface. Deep root watering ultimately helps newly planted roots take hold and keeps trees hydrated during dry spells. In the first year, aim to deep water your tree once per week. During subsequent years, gradually space the deep watering sessions from every other week to eventually once per month.

The best time to water is in the morning. A 5-gallon bucket (the kind you can find at a home improvement store) is a good visualization for about how much water you would apply during each watering session for a newly planted tree. You will need a bit more for larger trees (those over 8ft.). You will know your tree is getting enough water to its roots if you can insert a long screwdriver into the dirt with ease.

Pruning
Appropriate pruning not only helps your tree maintain good branching architecture, but it also reduces safety hazards. It is very important to refrain from overly pruning, however, as this is actually prohibited by the City and can create a growth response that poses health risks to the tree. Please refer to Municipal Code 16.42.040 Street trees and planter strips. When in doubt, the City encourages property owners to reach out to a professional tree care expert for advice and/or assistance in carrying out this task.

Do I need a permit to remove my tree?

Unless tree removal is being coordinated by the City and a replacement tree is being provided, a property owner must apply for a tree cutting permit. Please refer to the City’s tree cutting ordinance for more information.

How do I know if my tree needs replacing?

If you have a question about the health of a tree in your parking strip, shared space, or on City owned property, email the City Arborist at cityarborist@happyvalleyor.gov. While the City’s contracted Arborist is not permitted to take any action on your property trees themselves, they may be able to help identify a concern and refer you to a reputable resource for more information.  The City always recommends property owners consult with a professional arborist before removing a tree or taking other drastic action.

Which tree should I choose to replace my street tree?

The City has a comprehensive list of street trees that are approved for planting. Property owners MUST select a tree from this list. City approved tree list.
Please remember: If you are planning to remove a tree with a trunk diameter that is greater than 6 inches, you are required to obtain a permit before doing any work. Please refer to the City’s tree cutting ordinance for more information.

See Happy Valley Municipal Code 16.42.040 Street trees and planter strips. (qcode.us)

What should I know about trimming my street tree?

The City’s Municipal Code describes tree-trimming requirements as related to public safety concerns in the City’s rights of way. The City Code requires residents to trim trees affecting public rights of way, helping ensure that traffic safety devices (stop signs, traffic signals, vehicular and pedestrian safety, street names signs, etc.) are visible from roadways. The Code also ensures garbage trucks and other emergency service vehicles are able to safely navigate City streets. Visit 16.42.030 Landscaping standards. .

How do I take care of my trees after a storm?

When ice accumulates on tree limbs, even a slight breeze is enough force to cause limbs to come crashing down. As the ice melts, it is extremely dangerous to be under or around them as they will be prone to cave due to the unprecedented amount of weight. The City’s contracted Arborist encourages residents to be extremely careful and refrain from attempting to knock down icicles or interfere with affected branches. Instead, let the ice melt on its own and stay inside if you can. It is unpredictable as to where branches might break or where trees will split and fall. Once the inclement weather has subsided, here are some things you can do.

  1. Inspect trees for broken branches that have detached and become tangled among other branches. If anything is touching or near a powerline, call the PGE Tree Hotline at 1-800-544-1794. Do not attempt to dislodge anything. Instead, wait until someone has inspected the tree and the area surrounding.

If no power lines are nearby, you can remove small branches by hand. If branches are larger, however, they could continue to fall as they shift.  When in doubt, call a professional tree care expert or arborist to help you. Who not to hire?  Many people will take advantage of an unfortunate situation and target residents following a severe weather crisis.  Happy Valley does not condone door to door solicitors of any form.  Please ask for references and check out credentials just as you would any other business.

Once the weather improves and damaged limbs are removed, it is wise to engage in good pruning habits. This will encourage healthy growth and increase safety. If you don’t feel confident pruning, have someone who has learned about pruning help you or hire a professional to complete this task.

Happy Valley is proud to be a Tree City.
Tree City USA is an Arbor Day Foundation program that has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976.

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