Planting Trees & Shrubs on Town Property

To properly maintain all trees and shrubs located on or growing in the public right-of-way as defined in the Town ordinance, it is essential the Town approves new plantings on public property. Trees or shrubs planted in the public right-of-way become property of the Town.

Before planting a tree or shrub, confirm the location of your property line. The public right-of-way varies in size across Town. Generally, the public right-of-way is the area between the street curb and sidewalk. Planting trees or shrubs on private property does not need Town approval.  The McLean County GIS system, www.mcgis.org, can help determine the public right-of-way.

State law requires you to notify JULIE at least two business days (excluding weekends and holidays) before any digging project, regardless of the project size or depth. 
Even if the area is the same as a previous digging project, notify JULIE by calling 8-1-1 or 1-800-892-0123.

Town residents can request a tree to be planted in the right-of-way in front of their home. All requests will be reviewed by Town staff to determine if a planting location is available and suitable to support a tree.  For further assistance, please call the Parks and Recreation Department at 309-454-9540.
 

Tree and Shrub Planting Location
Town ordinance provides the following guidelines to determine the availability of a tree or shrub planting location on the public right-of-way. 

Trees or shrubs cannot be planted: 

  • If they may obstruct the view of pedestrians or vehicle drivers
  • Closer than 
    • 50 feet from an approach corner with a traffic signal or stop sign, 
    • 20 feet from any streetlight pole 
    • 15 feet from any regulatory street sign.  
    • 10 feet from any driveway, fire hydrant or stormwater inlet.  
  • If they may interfere with any underground utility service or with a potential mature height of more than 25 feet where overhead utility wires exist.

Tree Planting Clearance

Trees planted in the public right-of-way must have adequate clearance between the street curb and sidewalk. This ensures the healthy growth of the tree, as well as preserving the integrity of the surrounding infrastructure.

Right-of-Way Width Between the Curb and Sidewalk Available Tree Planting Zone   
Less than four feet A tree cannot be planted
Between four and five feet A small tree can be planted (with a potential mature height of no more the 25 feet)
Between five and seven feet A small or medium tree can be planted (with a potential mature height of no more than 40 feet)
Greater than seven feet A tree of any size can be planted (A large tree has a potential mature height of more than 40 feet)


Tree Species Selection

Trees planted in the public right-of-way must be included on the Recommended Tree List [PDF].  The list is categorized by the potential mature height of each tree species from large (greater than 40 feet) to medium (between 25 and 40 feet) to small (25 feet and under).        

Additional planting guidelines:

  • Trees planted on the public right-of-way must have a minimum caliper of one inch and shall be symmetrical in growth with a single straight trunk and a dominant central leader.
  • Use correct planting methods:
    • The bottom of the planting hole shall be no deeper than the height of the root ball.
    • Set the tree at such a level that the top root flare, the first major root, is at or slightly above ground level. 
    • Cut and remove all ties from the root ball.
  • Properly stake trees with guy-wires for one complete growing season. 
  • Regularly water all newly planted trees thoroughly, especially during dry periods. 

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