Urban Forestry


The City of East Lansing has a long-standing commitment to urban forestry and has been recognized as a Tree City USA for more than 25 years by the National Arbor Day FoundationThe Department of Public Works (DPW) annually plants, cares for and maintains trees along streets and in City parks.

The City of East Lansing has a rich history of beautiful neighborhoods, community parks and recreation facilities. Trees help stabilize the soil, reduce noise levels, cleanse pollutants from the air, produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and provide habitat for wildlife. Trees also provide significant economic benefits, including increase real estate values by creating more attractive settings in which to locate commercial business. In addition, trees provide shade and act as windbreaks, helping to decrease residential energy consumption.

Urban Forest Management

The City is responsible for tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding and emergency tree work for park and street trees. Street trees are located within the right-of-way, typically located between the curb and sidewalk in the area referred to as the "parkway." View forestry definitions.

Street Tree Planting
When funding is available, DPW replaces trees that have been removed in the spring and/or fall according to the "Right Tree, Right Place" concept. Therefore, all aspects of the tree and the planting location are considered from the ultimate height of the tree, root zone, overhead utilities, sidewalks, etc. This concept minimizes damage to sidewalks and curbs, reduces conflicts with utilities and provides the best opportunity for a tree to grow up to maturity. Based on this concept, the City has developed a list of approved street trees which are suitable for planting along City streets.

Can Homeowners Plant Trees in the Parkway?
Yes. The City of East Lansing encourages homeowners to plant approved street trees in the parkway, however, residents are required to contact Environmental Services Administrator Catherine DeShambo at (517) 319-6936. At site visit will be conducted to ensure that the appropriate variety of tree is chosen and adequate space is available.