Tree Board, Village of Perry

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. 

Tree problems or concerns, such as the need for trimming or removal, can be reported to the DPW at SeeClickFix.
The location is automatically tagged by using a smartphone to take a picture. 
A link is available in 
"Online Services" at

Tree questions or emergencies during business hours 
may also be reported to the Village Clerk's office 
at 237-2216.

Tree Requests can be made on the Tree Request Form.

One of tasks of the Tree Board was to draft a Tree Law for the Village of Perry. This was adopted Spring of 2017 by the Board of Trustees. The Tree Law establishes the  "Tree Board for the Village of Perry" as an advisory committee, and establishes tree regulations for the village. 

"It is the purpose and intent of this law to promote and protect the public health, safety and general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting, maintenance and removal of trees within the Village of Perry which are on Village property or within the right-of-way of any public street.  It is also the purpose of this law to establish and maintain diversity of tree species and maximize tree canopy through tree planning and preservation."

You can read a copy of the Tree Law here.  The practical guidance and interpretation of the Tree Law is usefully laid out in our village Standards and Specifications here.

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.

The Village of Perry Tree Board at work.

Web Tool Links

Online Regional Tree Nursery Sites

Main St.

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 Tree Board will recommend an appropriate tree for the location and plant it at no cost, usually considering homeowner preferences in the selection of the variety.

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.

Gardeau St.

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') 

Medium (30'-70') 

Large (over 70') 
Desirability Considerations

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:

  • Hardiness: Our USDA hardiness zone is 5b, but planting for 5a may reduce the risk of injury from colder-than-usual years in less-sheltered areas. 
  • Size: Only plant small trees within 10' of power lines or within 5' of water or sewer lines or in terraces less than 4' wide. 
  • Spacing: Maintain adequate spacing for the size of tree. 
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'
  • Winter appearance: evergreens (without low obstructing branches) and interesting bark on deciduous trees add value with our long winters. 
  • Fall color 
  • Flowering 
  • Seeds and Fruit: Large fruit varieties are discouraged close to the road and over sidewalks due to mess and potential for odor. Smaller fruits may also be messy, but are more likely to be taken care of by birds. 
  • Road Salt: Tends to raise the soil pH. Mulching especially with pine needles or soil acidifiers may help counteract this for acid-loving varieties but would require adjacent property owner care. 
  • Cost: Trees costing over $100 are less likely to be approved, unless there is special value or uniqueness to the variety. Property owners may offer to pay for the tree. 
  • Liability: The village is not able to guarantee that any tree will survive, and replacement will generally be with a different variety if a tree dies or is removed because of lack of health. 
  • Roots: some varieties are more likely to invade sewer lines, heave sidewalks, or to be shallow and risk toppling. 
  • Wood strength. We frequently have high winds which may break soft wood varieties or cause branches to drop with risk to cars or pedestrians. 
  • Pruning: some varieties require more work to shape them into a tree form with a single trunk and may depend on adjacent property owner involvement. Shrubs are not permitted in the right-of-way (A trunk should generally be free of branches for at least the bottom 5 feet to promote visibility once the tree reaches 15 feet in height, and branches should be anticipated to not hang lower than 8 feet over sidewalks, 12 feet over side streets, and 16 feet over arterial streets.) 
  • Disease resistance: as invasive insects and blights emerge, resistant species may be developed and currently desirable species may become undesirable. Part of the value in promoting a large variety of street trees is that new threats will have less effect on our total tree population. 


Trees "Approved with Reservations" 
  • Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) May break in storms, salt can damage.
  • White Birch, Weeping White Birch (Betula alba) Regular aphid infestations - probably will not kill the tree, but sticky "honeydew" drips and makes a mess. Do not plant where people park their cars. Note: Many trees get aphids, birch is always more heavily attacked.
  • Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima) 1" edible nuts could be considered a nuisance by some.
  • Catalpa. Brittle wood. Roots are tough on sidewalks.
  • Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) Thorny - select only named cultivars, such as "Shademaster", "Skyline" or "Imperial". Plant in wide planting strips.
  • Black Walnut, English Walnut  (Juglans nigra, J. regia) Messy fruit. J. nigra roots are destructive.
  • Sweetgum. (Liquidambar styraciflua) Roots are particularly destructive to sidewalks. They need an especially wide planting strip.
  • Amur CorkTtree (Phellodendron amurense) Branches can be low spreading.
  • Poplars, Aspen (Populus spp.) Tops are brittle and break up easily in storms.
  • Pin Oak (Quercus paulustris. )Lower limbs keep growing downward, and require lots of pruning when used as street trees. 'Crownright' is a variety that should be used to avoid this problem.
  • American Elm, Siberian Elm (Ulmus americana, U. pumila). American elm is highly vulnerable to Dutch elm disease. This disease is expected to kill the elms in this area. Newer disease resistant varieties may be approved for street planting. Siberian elms have brittle wood, and are prone to storm damage.
  • Conifer trees are not generally recommended for street planting. The lower limbs can cause visibility/safety problems at driveways, alleys, intersections, signs, and signals. They may be approved for street planting if the site is deemed appropriate. 

Trees "Prohibited for Street Planting" 
  • Boxelder, Silver Maple, and Big Leaf Maple (Acer negundo, Acer macrophyllum)  Break badly in storms.
  • Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)  Roots are invasive, brittle wood, suckers freely (produces new trees off of the root system, which may create a maintenance problem in the yard).
  • Red Alder (Alnus rubra) Brittle wood. Favorite of tent caterpillars.
  • Fruiting Fig  (Ficus carica) Fruit on sidewalks – aggressive root system. 
  • Fruiting Apples (Malus) Fruit on walks (if near a sidewalk).
  • Fruiting Plums, Peach, Apricot. (Prunus)  Fruit on walks.
  • Fruiting Pears (Pyrus) Fruit on walks.
  • Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) Thorny, brittle.
  • Willows, including Weeping (Salix spp.)  Soft, roots are particularly hard on sewers.
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