Spring, summer, and fall are times for planting; winter is a time for planning. Planning is a very important part of a successful tree planting. Site selection and tree selection can be done during the cold winter months in the warmth of your home. By doing a little homework and planning, you can avoid many common mistakes. For example, a small, misplaced tree can grow into a big problem.
With a well thought-out plan, the tree you plant will have a better chance of growing to its fullest potential. Duane Stall, forestry supervisor for Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation, explains how to choose a site for planting street trees.
Before selecting a tree to plant, you should identify a planting site. For residents of Sioux Falls this site could be either on private property or on the parking strip (the area between the curb and sidewalk). This article will focus on trees planted in the parking strip.
Tree-lined streets are one reason why people like to live and work in Sioux Falls. The City of Sioux Falls allows trees to be planted in the parking strip. Trees planted in this area are called street trees. The abutting property owner is responsible for the care and maintenance of street trees.
When selecting a new planting site in the parking strip, the following regulations apply except where otherwise permitted by Parks and Recreation:
- Only approved street trees may be planted in the parking strip.
- No tree shall be planted in the green space between the curb and the sidewalk if the width is less than five feet.
- No tree shall be planted closer than three feet from the curb.
- Trees must have a trunk diameter equal to or greater than one inch measured at six inches above the ground.
- Trees may be staked for protection purposes by a method approved by the director.
- Trees shall be planted at least 40 feet apart except where otherwise permitted by the director.
- No tree shall be planted in a parking strip less than five feet wide.
- No tree shall be planted under electrical lines unless approved by the director.
- Trees shall be planted at least 10 feet from a fire hydrant, 10 feet from a driveway, and/or 15 feet from a streetlight.
- Trees shall be placed at least 20 feet back from a stop/yield sign or traffic light.
- No tree shall be planted within 30 feet of a street corner.
The above regulations will help with selecting potential tree planting sites. However, there is a whole world below ground that should be taken into consideration when selecting a planting site. “Call Before You Dig” (dial 811) to help protect you from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines. After all utilities are marked, you can safely select or adjust your final planting site to avoid planting on top of a utility.
After selecting a planting site, the next task is to choose a tree. Keep in mind that only certain trees are approved for planting as street trees. The city’s Street Tree Guide
brochure lists species that have been approved for planting between curbs and sidewalks.
Contact the Forestry Division at 367-8150 if you have any questions.