Street Tree / Sidewalk Conflicts

If not addressed, sidewalks raised by tree roots pose a serious trip hazard; in some cases these issues may be solved simply by grinding the transition between sidewalk panels to smooth out the high spot; but in most cases sidewalk replacement is necessary. The sidewalk inspector will assess the sidewalk and tree to determine a solution to save the tree, the City Forester is consulted when there is a question as to the health of the tree and/or there is no viable option to work around it; if removal is recommended the forester and the inspector work together to facilitate the process. 

When replacing sidewalk which is, or in the future could be affected by the root system of a street tree; several options may be implemented or combined to allow for tree growth. When these options are utilized the city will warrantee that portion of altered sidewalk in the event the tree raises it again. The inspector will work with the sidewalk contractor to determine the best option to allow for future growth. 

There are several criteria the inspector looks at before asking the forester to look at the tree for removal:

  • The width of the parkway
  • The proximity to the driveway approach
  • Condition of tree bark and are there dead branches in the canopy
  • If the tree is pushing / breaking the curb, or leaning dangerously over the street.
  • Any conditions at the back of sidewalk which would inhibit the ability to alter the sidewalk. 

The city prefers to save trees whenever possible, but in some cases the only option is removal, which will be performed by the City’s Parks Division.

To report a sidewalk issue caused by a street tree, call 563.589.4270 or submit a service request here.