Streets comprise a large portion of Cedar Rapids’ public spaces, and street trees play a vital role in making them hospitable places where the bonds of community can form. Street trees shelter our sidewalks, they reduce urban heat islands and create safer environments for pedestrians and community members.
Find information about the planting of street trees in Chapter 9 (ReLeaf Plan).
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.
How to Expedite the Planting of MY Street Tree
If you prefer not to wait for Trees Forever or city 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. Find the timeline of your street’s planting at the city’s dashboard here.
A permit must first be submitted and approved before planting and the species must be selected from the ReLeaf Master Tree List. Instructions on how to plant a tree are found on pages 48-49 of the plan.
FREE TREES ARE ON THE WAY!
Trees Forever, in partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids ReLeaf program, will be planting trees in the city right-of-way in your neighborhood.
Here’s what to expect going forward:
1. PRIMARY SITE ANALYSIS
Trees Forever staff will perform a site analysis and paint a white line on the curb at the intended location of the tree in the city right-of-way.
2. IOWA ONE-CALL
Iowa One-Call locators will visit the site and mark the city right-of-way for water, electric, gas, and cable utilities.
3. SECONDARY SITE ANALYSIS
Trees Forever staff will return to the planting site and determine the final placement of the tree based on utilities. They will also paint a white circle and place a white Trees Forever flag on the final planting site in the city right-of-way.
4. GROWING FUTURES PLANTING
Growing Futures teen employees and/or trained volunteers will arrive to plant the new tree at no cost to you. They will give it an initial watering and attach a gator bag to the tree, which will help with subsequent watering efforts.
5. WATERING & MAINTENANCE
Trees Forever staff and Growing Futures teen employees will continually water the tree for the next two years of its life. They will also perform necessary maintenance as needed.