Urban Forestry

Growing the City's Urban Canopy

The City is committed by ordinance, policy, and tradition to the full responsibility for the management of all trees on City-owned public land within the City limits. Each tree, or collectively, the urban forest, has three fundamental management requirements: planting, maintenance, and removal.

Trees provide many benefits to our city including reduced urban heating/cooling which translates to reduced energy costs, increased property values, clean air, and cleaner water to list a few.

As a Tree City USA for 34 years, we have been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a community that meets all of its standards.

In 2018, the City of Traverse City Completed an Urban Canopy Assessment and Tree Management Plan for all City street trees. A copy of the report along with historical information can be found at the link below.

2018 City of Traverse City Tree Report

Urban Forestry Maintenance & Inventory

Trees growing in an urban setting are subjected to increased stress and require unique systematic maintenance.  In addition to planting, trees must be given supportive services to promote recruitment and prolong their useful lifespan. Urban forest maintenance in Traverse City relies upon the carrying out of best management practices necessary for reasonable health, vigor and compatibility with the urban environment.  

The Parks Department continuously updates an inventory of City owned trees. This includes street trees (Right-of-Way) and trees on City owned property (i.e. Parks, Fire Stations, DPS, etc.).Check out the City's Interactive Tree Map where City trees have been inventoried! You can submit an issue with a City tree and donate to the Tree Fund!

Tree Maintenance Districts 

Urban Forestry Planting

Each fall and spring the Traverse City Parks and Recreation Department completes a tree planting project to supplement the urban forest.  A majority of the trees planted are along the street in the public right of way.  Many of the trees that are planted replace a tree that was removed during the year prior.  Each location is assessed to determine if a tree could survive in the space available to it.  Once a planting location is determined, the species is selected depending on a variety of factors.  Please see the link below for more information with regard to tree planting.

Traverse City Tree Selection Guide

Suggest a Planting Location

Use the online form below to suggest a planting location along the street in the public right of way at your residence or business within the City of Traverse City.  You can view exisiting tree locations on the City's Interactive Tree Map.

Suggest a Planting Location

City Arborist

The City's Parks and Recreation Supervisor, Matt Bright, earned the Certified Arborist credential from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) in 2022. 

Through research, technology, and education, ISA promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. The ISA Certified Arborist certification is achieved by successfully meeting requirements through demonstrated attainment of relevant competencies as supported by the ISA Credentialing Council.

As the City places importance on growing the urban tree canopy for benefits such as reducing summer peak temperatures and air pollution, providing wildlife habitat, providing aesthetic benefits, and improving social ties among neighbors, we will continue to invest in professional growth in our employees to properly maitain the City's urban canopy and forest management.

Stop the Spread of Oak Wilt

In 2011, the City passed a Local Ordinance that prohibits pruning oak tress from April through November to protect oak trees and help prevent oak wilt disease. Oak wilt is also a serious pest of local importance. The disease is introduced to oak trees via fresh wounds in the tree. As oak trees often graft roots beneath the soil, once infested tree can pass the disease to other healthy trees. Breaking these root grafts and removing infested trees is critical to saving nearby oaks. Oak wilt is well-established across much of the Michigan oak landscape. Help save the trees by not pruning between April and November!