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 30 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 increasing 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, and they capture and infiltrate runoff, which reduces the burden on the City's stormwater infrastructure.

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 City right-of-way. While this is typically the space located between the sidewalk and street (known as the "parkway"), right-of-way still applies in areas where no sidewalk exists. View forestry definitions.

Residents are not authorized to trim, remove, destroy or cut any tree within the public right-of-way or park in the city without first obtaining a permit from the city engineer. If you believe a City tree is diseased, damaged or a hazard, fill out this quick online form or call the East Lansing Department of Public Works and Environmental Services for assessment. The City is responsible for the management of these trees and fines and penalties may be incurred where they are unlawfully removed. There are additional scenarios and zoning districts where tree removal or maintenance requires a permit as detailed here. Please call the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services for guidance and assessment of your situation.

Notice an issue with a City tree, have questions on permitting or want information on the City's best practices? Consult the City of East Lansing's Tree Manual and Frequently Asked Questions.

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