Now More than 150 Tree Species to Choose From
(Portland, OR) –
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Urban Forestry is excited to announce a newly updated list of approved street trees for planting in the City of Portland. The selection of trees has been greatly expanded, with more than 150 tree species approved for planting in City rights-of-way. The impressive diversity of trees offers something for everyone, from brilliant fall color to showy flowers, and native species such as evergreens. The species of approved trees was determined through a collaborative process with input from PP&R and Bureau of Environmental Services staff, the Urban Forestry Commission, the advocacy group Friends of Trees, local tree experts, and interested citizens.
For Property Owners
The City of Portland’s approved street tree planting list guide property owners in selecting trees that are appropriate for individual sites and which contribute to the quality of the city’s overall tree canopy. Species are approved for planting based on several criteria, including: the space available for planting, status on the nuisance plant list, threats of pests and disease, how the species has fared in the urban environment in the past, current canopy diversity, climate considerations, and desirable tree characteristics. Different trees will be approved for planting depending on the surrounding environment, with considerations such as ground space and overhead power lines taken into account.
The new approved street tree planting list does not include maple trees, due to Portland’s overabundance of maples. This is a big step towards increasing the resilience and health of Portland’s tree canopy now and in the future. Maple trees make up almost 28% of Portland’s street tree population, according to inventory data. This creates a real risk that pests affecting maples will catastrophically reduce the City’s street tree canopy. The new approved street tree list address this risk by introducing more diverse planting options.
Before You Plant
Before planting a tree on a City street (right-of-way), you need to obtain a planting permit. The permit is free and includes an on-site inspection. Before purchasing your tree, call Urban Forestry at 503-823-4489 to request your planting permit and schedule a free on-site inspection. An Urban Forestry Tree Inspector will make sure the tree you choose is the right tree for the location and will answer any questions you may have. This will ensure that the tree provides the maximum benefit and requires minimal maintenance in the future.
Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place
The best street tree is one that fits well in the available space. To help property owners choose the right tree, the City maintains lists of approved street trees based on the width of the planting strip and the presence/absence of overhead high voltage power lines. Generally only primary lines (the power lines usually located above transformers) affect tree selection because trees must not come into contact with these high voltage carriers.
View the Street Tree Planting and Establishment Guidelines for tips on how to purchase, plant, and maintain a tree. When purchasing street trees, the required standard size is 2" caliper for residential lots and 3.5" caliper for commercial and industrial lots. If you are planting a conifer, it must be at least 6' tall.
The planting list website has a Frequently Asked Questions page to help answer your questions about planting in the City right-of-way. For more information on street trees, the approved street tree planting lists, and urban forest management in Portland, visit the Urban Forestry website or call Urban Forestry at 503-823-4489.