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Parks and Recreation

Contact Information
Parks & Recreation Department
City Services Center (CSC)
500 15th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Phone: 319-286-5566, option 2
Fax: 319-540-8843
forestry@cedar-rapids.org

Hours

Mon - Fri, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Department Contacts
Tree Removal
The City values our trees and it is our intent to save as many as possible. We examine the City's injured trees for the type and extent of damage before considering their removal. Even though a tree may have branches left, the structural integrity could be beyond repair. The safety and protection of people and property weighs heavily in the decision to save or remove. Trees creating the most hazardous conditions are considered first. For safety reasons, utility companies handle broken limbs and tree damage around power lines.

Forestry staff work to trim and remove trees.Removal of dead, dying, and otherwise unsafe trees from city property and right-of-ways is carried out year-round by Forestry staff to ensure public and adjacent private spaces are safe for people using them.

Removal may be as simple as notching and dropping a small tree in the middle of a city park, or more involved due to tree size, surrounding utility wires, or passing vehicles. Nearby buildings could necessitate more complicated measures and greater sophistication to get the job done safely and efficiently.

Removing Standing Trees

We have received information from residents who are concerned that we may be removing healthy trees. In some cases, a tree’s canopy may appear healthy, but the tree may not be structurally sound. While the City values every tree, especially after losing more than 20,000 street trees from the derecho, not all remaining trees may recover from the storm. There may be situations where a standing tree that appears healthy will need to be removed because it poses a danger to safety or will not survive.

Learn more about assessments on whether a tree will recover or have to be removed.

Removal of Stumps in the City's Right-of-Way

Stumps left behind in the right-of-way following the removal of a damaged street tree will be ground down by the City. The City requests that residents remove rocks, bricks, and stone planters from around the stump as well as any ornamental plantings that the resident wants to keep. This helps to ensure that workers have good, safe access and allows the stump to be flushed closer to grade level if needed.
Photo of a tree stump

Stumps will be ground out approximately 8 inches below grade; the waste material will be removed and the area will be restored with topsoil. This process may be completed all at once or over the course of a few days, depending on weather and staffing. Crews are working on a quadrant by quadrant basis.

Right-of-way stumps can be removed, at the resident’s expense, by following the same process as replanting by residents in the right-of-way. Complete an application for a permit. Stumps must be ground to 6-8 inches below grade. Trees planted in the same area will need to be moved 3-5 feet to one side or the other to avoid root systems from the tree that was removed. Property owners will need to grind the stump out completely to a depth of approximately 18-24 inches if they plan on re-planting in the exact same location.
Photo of stump being ground

ReLeaf Cedar Rapids Application/Permit

Frequently Asked Questions

RIGHT-OF-WAY STUMP REMOVAL

What is the definition of a right-of-way stump?
Right-of-way stumps are stumps that are located on land that is owned by the City, but maintained by the property owner. It includes the grassy portion of land between the curb and the property line. The right-of-way is reserved for traffic signs, utilities, street lights, sidewalks, snow storage and public trees.

What is the process for having it removed?

  • Ornamental plantings, rocks, brick or stone are not permitted in the right-of-way and must be removed. This helps to ensure that workers have good, safe access and allows the stump to be removed at the appropriate depth.
  • An initial crew will grind right-of-way stumps approximately 8 inches below grade.
  • A restoration crew will follow to clean up on a later date. Restoration will include the removal of waste material, placing topsoil where the stump was removed and seeding.

What is the timeframe for removal?
With over 8,000 stumps to be ground, it will be a multi-year process. Under normal conditions, the removal time is two weeks.

How does the City determine where they are removing stumps and which neighborhoods will be next?
The City is now following the ReLeaf Cedar Rapids plan and Paving for Progress project schedule for stump removal. A separate contracted crew will work on main arterials, collector streets and prioritized routes used during snow emergencies. Stumps will not be marked or residents notified individually prior to removal.

Am I able to have it removed myself?
Right-of-way stumps can be removed, at the resident’s expense, by following the same process as replanting by residents in the right-of-way. Complete the application for a permit prior to having work done. You must complete a separate permit application for replanting within the right-of-way.

Newly planted trees planted by residents through the permit process, must be moved 3 to 5 feet to one side or the other of stumps ground by City crews to avoid root systems from the tree that was removed. If the resident is planting in the same location, the stump must be ground, by the resident, to a depth of 18 to 24 inches deep prior to planting.

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