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What do I need to know before I plant a tree in the sidewalk space?

The City of Wahoo requires a permit to plant in the area between the curb and sidewalk...known as the sidewalk space.

The City of Wahoo requires all property owners that wish to plant a tree or shrubbery in or upon any sidewalk space to first obtain a written permit.  Click here to download the planting permit application.  Planting permit applications may also be picked up at City Hall or the Civic Center.  Completed applications should be returned to the Parks and Recreation Director at the Civic Center who will notify the applicant of their permit status.  There is no fee for the permit.  Trees planted on private property do not require a permit.

In addition to the permit, property owners planting in or upon the sidewalk space must select a tree species from a recommended list provided by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.  Click here to view and download the publication called “Street Trees for Nebraska”.

Planting a Tree

The purpose of the city planting permit is to ensure that the characteristics of the planting site and the species of tree to be planted are a good match, resulting in the tree growing to a healthy, mature size.  In doing so, the tree’s growth does not become a nuisance.  In addition, selecting a tree species from the provided list encourages diversity in the entire community forest.  When selecting your planting site and the tree species you wish to plant, give some thought to the growth characteristics of the tree you are considering.  Think about the physical limitations of the planting space.  Answering the following questions before you plant, will help you determine your species choice.

  • Is the tree species on the City’s approved list?  Click here to view the list.
  • What functions will the tree serve?  Do you want shade, a windbreak or screen, or fall color?
  • Are there utility wires or other obstructions underground or overhead?
  • What is the soil like?  Is it sandy?  Poorly or well drained?  Is there an adequate water source?
  • Does the site provide enough room for the tree’s branches, roots, and trunk to grow?

Click on the links below to download and print guides and resources related to tree planting and care:

Planting Distances & Clearances

No street trees shall be planted within the “sight triangle” of an intersection.  In Wahoo, the triangle is measured 45 feet from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curb lines. (Note:  The distance increases to 75 feet for major or arterial streets).

In addition, trees may not be planted in the sidewalk space where there is less than 6 feet between the edge of the sidewalk and the street curb.  Street trees may not be planted closer than 3 feet from a sidewalk, driveway, or street.  Street trees may not be planted closer than 10 feet of any fire hydrant.

Attention also needs to be paid to the spacing of trees planted in the sidewalk space.  Street trees may not be planted closer together than the following:  15 feet for *small trees and 35 feet for *medium and large trees.  (*Note:  As defined by the current tree list.)