Tree Planting

Planting trees on public property

Planting trees on public property in Waterloo is an important part of maintaining and improving our urban forest. In many neighborhoods, the lots do not provide sufficient space to support trees. In such instances, plantings located on public property provide a majority of the overstory vegetation.

The City of Waterloo Leisure Services Department encourages property owners to plant trees on the City owned right of way between the sidewalk and the street. If you choose to plant a tree in this area you must “plant the right tree, in the right place”.

Tree Planting Guidelines

The following guidelines will help prevent future maintenance problems and reduce potential hazards.

Notify the City Forester

City Code 7-5-3(a) requires a property owner to receive a permit from the City Forester before a tree is planted on public property. The City Forester will determine the best location for the planting and advise as to the suitability of the proposed variety.

Locate All Buried Utilities

It is the responsibility of the person planting the tree to locate all buried utilities. (Iowa One Call: 1-800-292-8989)

Prohibited Species and Varieties

The following varieties are prohibited for use on city streets in Waterloo due to hazardous thorns, weak wood, messy fruit, susceptibility to disease or insects, or undesirable growth habits:

  • Ash – Fraxinus species
  • Cottonwoods – Populus deltoides
  • Poplars – Populus species
  • Silver Maples – Acer saccharinum
  • Boxelders – Acer negundo
  • American Elms – Ulmus americana
  • Chinese Elms – Ulmus parvifulia
  • Siberian Elms – Ulmus pumila
  • Hawthornes – Crataegus species (Except thornless varieties)
  • Locusts – Gleditsia triacanthos & Robinia pseudacacia (Except thornless & seedless varieties)
  • Gingkos (female) – Gingko biloba
  • Russian Olives – Elaeagnus angustifolia
  • Firs – Abies species
  • Junipers – Juniperus species
  • Larches – Larix species
  • Spruce – Picea species
  • Pines – Pinus species
  • Douglas Fir – Pseudotsuga species
  • Arborvitae – Thuja species
  • Yews – Taxus species
  • Hemlocks – Tsuga species
  • White Birch – Betula papyrifera
  • Pin Oaks – Quercus palustris
  • Willows – Salix species (includes Austree)
  • Catalpas – Catalpa speciosa
Recommended Trees

The following varieties are just a few recommendations for trees to plant on city owned right of way. They show hardiness to Waterloo’s climate (Waterloo is in hardiness zone 4), display favorable characteristics, and are generally available at local nurseries.

Street Trees

  • Freeman maple – Acer X freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’
  • Norway maple – Acer platanoides ‘Emerald Lustre’
  • Red maple – Acer rubrum ‘Autumn Flame’
  • Sugar maple – Acer saccharum
  • Hackberry – Celtis occidentalis
  • Gingko (Male) – Gingko biloba
  • Thornless honeylocust – Gleditisia triacanthos var. inermis ‘Shademaster’
  • Callary pear – Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’
  • Swamp White Oak – Quercus bicolor
  • Red Oak – Quercus rubra
  • American Linden – Tilia americana ‘Redmond’
  • Littleleaf Linden – Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’

Low-growing Trees

  • Amur maple(single trunk) – Acer tataricum subsp. ginnala
  • Thornless cockspur hawthorn – Crataegus crusgalli var. inermis
  • Amur maackia – Maackia amurensis
  • Flowering crabapple – Malus sp. ‘Adams’ or ‘Prairifire’
  • Japanese tree lilac – Syringa reticulata

Approval must be obtained to plant these trees from the City Forester even if the trees you want to plant are listed here. Also, there are many more varieties of trees that may be allowed that are not listed here.