The City of Racine's urban forestry department manages 40,000 tree sites along streets, in parks, and at other city-owned property. In addition to actual trees, tree sites also include stumps and vacant planting sites.
Our public trees provide significant benefits - nearly $3,000,000 per year - to our community in form of energy savings, avoided and sequestered carbon, air quality benefits, storm water reduction, aesthetics, and other benefits. Trees are the only infrastructure that grow, increase in value, and provide greater benefits over time.
An interactive inventory of Racine's public trees can be accessed at: Tree Keeper
Forestry Division Services include but are not limited to:
- Tree Pruning
- Hazard Tree Abatement (tree removal)
- Tree Planting
- Forest Pest & Disease Management
- Emergency Storm Response
- Tree Protection
Pruning - is one of the most important of all tree maintenance practices. Well pruned trees are healthier, safer, and live longer.
The goals of pruning are:
- Remove dead, dying, diseased, & damaged branches
- Develop strong branch structure in young trees
- Provide clearance above roads & sidewalks
- Provide clearance from street lights, overhead wires, buildings, & other infrastructure
- Identify trees that have become hazardous and require removal
Cycle Pruning - to maximize efficiency, is done on a rotating cycle. Defined geographical areas are pruned every 6 years (mature trees) & 3 years (young trees). This work occurs year-round, but most is completed during the winter.
If you would like to see when your tree is scheduled for pruning, you can find your zone here: Forestry Zone Map and the pruning schedule here: Pruning Schedule
Off Cycle Pruning - we also conduct 'off-cycle' pruning to address pruning needs that can't wait until the scheduled cycle pruning. Off-cycle pruning is usually limited to high priority needs such as very low branches, branches touching homes, branches blocking street lights or traffic signals, or removal of large dead or dangerous branches. Most off-cycle pruning occurs between April and October.
If you think your tree cannot wait for scheduled cycle pruning, contact our office and request an inspection.
Removing trees is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy and safe urban forest. Because trees do provide significant benefits, tree removals are limited to dead, dying, and dangerous trees.
City arborists conduct an annual tree removal survey, consisting of a basic visual inspection, of all public trees every summer. Because this survey occurs automatically there is not need to call the office to request an inspection unless you have concerns about a larger tree being unsafe.
Trees identified for removal are marked with green paint and an informational door hanger is left at the property. Removal of the stump is typically contracted to private tree companies, and a new tree is planted the following year.
The City Forester is also available to conduct a more thorough inspection of trees year-round. Again, tree removals are generally limited to dead, dying, and dangerous trees.
Please note that we do not remove trees in conflict with sidewalks. Sidewalk repair contractors should contact the forestry division to discuss root management solutions.
Tree roots are also often blamed for damaging and blocking sewer pipes. However, root growth into a sewer pipe only occurs when the pipe has first been damaged by other factors, such as soil compaction and shifting, and aging infrastructure. Nutrients, oxygen, and warm temperature near cracks or grout erosion encourages root growth which interferes with sewerage flow.
Because the roots are not at fault, we will not remove healthy trees that may have roots growing into
defective or damaged sewer laterals. Property owners are responsible for
correcting the problem and should contact a plumber to evaluate repair options.
Tree Planting - city arborists plant between 1,500 and 1,900 trees per year. Planting occurs in the spring (April and May) and fall (October and November).
- Residents can request to have a tree planted by the city or can request a free permit to plant their own tree, subject to approval.
- New trees are automatically planted to replace trees previously removed.
- Trees are planted the spring following completed road construction projects.
Racine is a leader in Wisconsin in utilizing gravel beds and has one of the largest in the Upper-Midwest. A gravel bed is an irrigated bed of gravel in which bare root trees are placed in the spring and then planted in the fall. Time spent in this system dramatically increases fibrous root growth, decreasing transplant shock and increasing survivability of the tree. We typically have between 500 and 900 trees in our gravel bed each growing season.
Wood Chips are
available to be delivered at no cost to locations in Racine County, east of
Interstate 94. Deliveries are completed when trucks are filled up from tree
pruning and removal operations. This means that the wood chips are fresh and
may contain leaves, sticks, sawdust, and other debris.
If you are interested in receiving wood chips, please complete and return this form: Wood Chips Request Form. Please note that wood chip quantities are limited to the capacity of our chip trucks which are 12 cubic yards or 25 cubic yards.
Waste wood is available to be delivered to locations in Racine County, east of highway 45 for a $75 fee. Waste wood is a result of tree removals and is defined as tree trunks and large branches of irregular size, shape, and condition. It is comprised of various species and is typically used as firewood. It is un-cut and un-split, varies in size from 12-inches in diameter to 60-inches in diameter, and may contain hollows and be in various stages of decay. The truck bed is approximately 20'Lx8'Wx4'H.
Availability varies throughout the year. If you are interested in receiving waste wood, please complete and return this form: Waste Wood Request Form
If you would like additional information about trees, one of the following external websites may be of use to you:
Tree Owners Manual
Wisconsin Arborists Association