Resources, Information, and Procedures to Preserve and Grow our Village Forest
Trees contribute to our community's quality of life, property values, wildlife, and business attractiveness. Benefits to homeowners include shade and dampening of sound and wind. Perry encourages the planting and maintenance of a variety of trees along our streets as well as in private plantings to enhance the village’s natural beauty.
Each of us who were invited to be on the Village Tree Board received the appointment with enthusiasm. Our first meetings included excited conversations about trees we remember in the village, special trees we currently have on our street terraces and in our yards, and beautiful tree-lined streets we have seen in the area and on faraway travel. We also started our task with determination to face the tree issues of the village, such as key-holed trees for power lines, sidewalk damage, and vacant street-sides where trees used to be. But quickly we realized the job was more complex than just advocating to protect current trees. Should the village remove a huge deformed but healthy Y-shaped tree if it is providing much more shade, noise damping, and wildlife refuge than a small ornamental under the power line? Should we aim for that uniform tree-lined avenue look if it means a lot of cutting and replanting, or should we aim our efforts at filling gaps? Should the village take a more autocratic hand in managing the right-of-way, or primarily execute preferences expressed by individual property owners? Is our job primarily to implement regulations or to manage our "urban forest?" Will we be working with village tax money or grants?
Foreseeing potential controversies not only in the public arena as we navigate these complexities, but also experiencing our own mixed feelings as we explored our mandate, we decided to enlist the help of village residents in the form of a survey. We hoped it would give population-based affirmation for the direction we thought the Village Board had created us to take, and we hoped it would give us a sense of priorities in making complex choices for the benefit of village residents, businesses, and the environment itself. Our initial research gave us confidence that more trees would be better for business and make Perry a better, more beautiful place to live, but did our fellow citizens agree?
Compared to other surveys, we had a good response. Written surveys and a link to the web version went out with water bills, and 273 responses were returned. Results were quite consistent across age groups. We feel validated in our formation as a board since less than a quarter disagreed with our formation, and most would like a Tree Board to develop a replanting program for our gateway streets and vacant properties. A majority of residents strongly agree that the village should be responsible for replacing removed trees, and more than half would like homeowners to be able to request the variety of tree replanted in front of their property and would like to be provided information on tree planting and care.
Comments were the most fun to read. There are plenty of problems with street trees: walnuts fall on children's heads, roots interfere with water and gas lines, leaves blow all over and plug catch basins, power lines are threatened, crabapples make a mess, and sidewalks are eroded (but one contributor noted that trees are more important than sidewalks since no one uses the sidewalks). In spite of these, the survey still, on the whole, expressed our appreciation of trees as a community and our desire for more.
Which is the bigger perceived value of trees in our community: beauty or business? Three quarters of respondents strongly agree that an appearance of a community is enhanced by shade and street trees. Less than half strongly agree that trees in business areas help attract customers, so we see room for a public education effort.
How do we perceive our current village forest? It is not "too old," but "lacks variety" and is "poorly pruned." One curious result: a bare majority (51%) say "No, we don't have too few trees" but almost all (95%) say "No, we don't have too many trees." We think that means "More trees would be better." We wanted to know what kinds of trees people would prefer that we plant and got many specific variety suggestions. Flowering trees had many fans (including bees), but so did traditional large trees, evergreens, and trees with interesting bark or fall color. Most respondents think the village would be enhanced by both a greater variety of trees, as well as more uniformity in tree types. Hmm. We do hope to have some more uniformly planted streets, but there was a small preference for the increased variety option, which we have integrated into our plans. Another preference, though easier said than done, is that 85% think that a large deformed tree from power-line trimming should be replaced with a small tree rather than be preserved.
Tree events all garnered support, including a fall color or a spring flowering tree festival, but the strongest support was for tree planting during Clean Sweep (which we have already started this year), and also for public Christmas tree decoration. 71% support becoming a Tree City USA to help attract grants.
Thank you to all who returned their surveys. Knowing that we can't please everyone, can't afford all we'd like to do, can't deny that trees take care and cleanup, and can't fix everything at once, we are reassured to see the strong support of the village for investing in the future of our village forest.
Tree problems can be reported to the DPW at SeeClickFix.
A link is available in
"Online Services" at http://villageofperry.com/
Tree questions or emergencies during business hours
may also be reported to the Village Clerk's office
Web Tool Links
Online Regional Tree Nursery Sites
Department of Public Works
Tree Management Procedure
The Department of Public Works assesses trees and removes those that are diseased or dangerous.
Citizens may request that a tree in the public right-of-way in front of their homes be removed because of disease, age, danger or impact on sidewalks or sewer lines.
If a tree is removed, the DPW will recommend an appropriate tree for the location and plant it at no cost.
Corner of Covington St. and Leicester St.
Do not hit public trees with mowers or weed trimmers which injure vital bark, or damage trees with nails or wires. Mulching (not right next to the trunk) and trimming for health, safety and eye-level visibility are encouraged.
Aerial View of VOP Forest 1950's
Guidance for choosing your own trees to plant:
• Choose varieties that thrive in USDA hardiness zone 5b or cooler. Check these links for ideas: many interesting varieties of small, medium, and large trees should do well.
• Obtain approval from the DPW, Tree Board, or Village Board before planting a tree in the right-of-way (within 24.75' of the street center).
• Only plant small trees within 10' of power lines or within 5' of water or sewer lines.
• Maintain adequate spacing:
minimum distance from other trees by size:
small 30', medium 40', large 50'
minimum distance from curbs & sidewalks:
small 2', medium 3', large 4'
• Other minimum distances:
stop signs 35', hydrants 10', driveways 10', intersections 20'
• If your street has a tree name, consider planting that variety of tree.
The Village of Perry Tree Board is tasked with establishing lists of trees which we believe are capable of growing and surviving in the village. We have two categories: "recommended" varieties which are encouraged and "undesirable" varieties which are discouraged (some of which may be "approved with reservations" and some of which are, as a rule, "prohibited" as street trees). We also value flexibility and openness to any other climate-appropriate varieties that have "desirable" qualities delineated in that section below.
A tree is defined as having a single central trunk and acquiring a minimum height of ten (10) feet at maturity. The categories of small, medium, and large are based on the anticipated size at maturity, as illustrated in the diagram above. The first consideration in picking a tree variety is the location in relation to power lines--small trees should be planted here. But trees also need to be tall enough to protect an 8 foot clearance above sidewalks and 12 feet above streets (16 feet over arterial streets). Shrubs, which have more than one stem emerging from the ground, are not approved to be planted on the street terrace, the area between the sidewalk and the pavement, in order to maintain visibility and protect the primary goal of a clear way for pedestrians and vehicles to pass.
Trees are integral to the beauty and character of our village. We appreciate their shade, their muffling of noise, and their marking of our seasons and years. Trees give us memories, enhance property values, increase business, and provide habitats for our songbirds. With diligence and cooperative efforts of the village and property owners, we can keep our streets lined with healthy attractive beloved trees of countless varieties which complement and enhance their individual locations. The tree board welcomes you to submit for its evaluation suggestions you may have for inclusion in the lists of "recommended" and "undesirable" trees.
These are trees we believe will improve the variety in our village forest. Some may not be perfect street trees but have some value or beauty that we expect will enhance our street terraces (the area between the sidewalk and the street). For example, serviceberry provides flowers and edible berries that feed birds (and even humans), but may tend to grow suckers at the base that would need to be pruned to keep it in the required tree form. If your street is named after a tree species, we recommend choosing a street-friendly disease-resistant variety of that species. Here are some tree varieties recommended by the Tree Board that residents have specifically requested as well as many others.
Click on a Tree Name below to go to a linked page about that tree. They are arranged alphabetically by genus name.
Small (under 30')
Large (over 70')
As a rural community that values preferences of owners and residents of property adjacent to the right-of-way, the Tree Board would like to honor whenever possible the requests for other specific varieties they would like to see on the terrace in front of their property. There is more latitude in this regard if you as an adjacent property owner or resident are purchasing and agreeing to care for the tree yourself, even if it may not be considered a highly recommended street tree. The following are considerations that make a tree variety more desirable:
minimum distance from other trees by size:
Trees "Approved with Reservations"
Trees "Prohibited for Street Planting"