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Did You Know: Trees Are Required in Portland

Regardless of whether you’re new to the Portland area or you’ve lived here for a while, you may not be aware that trees aren’t a luxury in Portland. They’re a necessity. That’s because the city of Portland has tree-planting requirements when certain conditions are met. This may be surprising news to you, but our Mr. Tree expert arborists specialize in Oregon tree service and we’re here to help. We’ll keep you informed on what you need to know to see if your property is up to code. The Portland Tree Code, to be exact.

First, most properties that are new developments will have to meet these tree density requirements. Secondly, if you make exterior alterations to an existing property in excess of the non-conforming upgrade threshold (currently set at $158,400 and updated annually), you must also comply with the city’s tree density requirements. More info on that here.

Trees Are Required in Portland

So let’s say, for example, you’re building your first starter home or perhaps you’re constructing your very own dream home from the ground up. Your property will need to have a specific amount of landscaping allotted for tree preservation and/or new tree planting. So, how do you know how many trees to preserve or plant? Well, there’s a formula for that. Exactly how much tree density is required on your property is dependent on the type and size of your site. As experts in Oregon tree service, we’ll help you calculate it.

First, you have to determine how much square footage your tree area should cover. There are two ways to calculate the square footage, but the first option is a little more straightforward. For single or two-family residences, the tree area must be 40 percent of the site or development impact area. For a multi-dwelling residence, it should be 20 percent of the site or development impact area. Now that you’ve figured out how much landscaping should be devoted to tree planting or preservation, it’s time to determine just how many trees should be planted.

There are three categories of trees — small, medium, and large. The size is based on the tree’s canopy size at maturity. You have the option of planting many small trees or several large ones.

For instance, one large tree should be planted for every 1,000 square feet. However, one small tree must be planted every 300 square feet. This means you would need to plant at least three small trees where only one large tree would be required. Likewise, you would need to plant two medium size trees in that same space. For a precise guide on the number of trees required and the minimum required planting area for each tree, check here.

While there are certain exceptions to tree density requirements (a site located within the Portland International Airport Plan District, for example), most new constructions will be required to comply with these standards. So, how do you know which size tree to plant and how do you determine the size of a tree anyway? Checking with local arborists who have expertise in Oregon tree service is a good place to start. We’ll provide a solid overview of what you need to know to make sure you’re barking up the right tree instead of the wrong one.

First, it’s a good idea to know what type of trees fall into which size category. Arbor Day has an excellent guide for this. The Arbor Day guide will help you gauge a tree’s typical height and crown spread based on its standard growth in city conditions. A small tree is typically any tree with a mature height of 30 feet or less, whereas large trees usually grow to heights above 70 feet. Medium-sized trees fall somewhere in between.

Now that you know the difference between small, medium, and large trees, you’ll need to determine which ones to plant. Instead of thinking of tree density as a city requirement, think of tree planting as an opportunity to improve your home’s landscaping and fulfill a need. Are you looking for privacy? Small shrubs might work best. Want a place to lounge in the shade on a hot summer day? A large tree with a wide canopy would work well.

You should also take into consideration the amount of time it takes for each tree to reach maturity. Are you looking for a tree that will grow quickly or one that will live longer? There are many considerations to keep in mind when deciding what type of tree to plant. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult with one of Mr. Tree’s expert arborists. We’ll talk you through the process and answer any questions you might have.

Once you’ve narrowed down the field and have an idea of what type of tree you’re looking for, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when making your tree selection. Trees, like many things associated with your new home, are an investment and you’ll want to make sure you’re making smart choices. When visiting the nursery, for instance, you’ll want to inspect a tree’s bark closely to ensure it is free of scars or other wounds. The tree’s foliage should also be green and healthy. For more excellent tips on how to select a healthy tree for planting, check out this article and its accompanying video.

As you may have gleaned, it’s important to take great care when planting trees. After all, you want them to grow with a flourish. As a homeowner, you are responsible for the proper upkeep and maintenance of your trees. Removing a diseased tree can be expensive and you will also need to replace it with a new, healthy one. It’s important when planting to keep your trees adequately spaced and to give them proper sunlight and nourishment so they thrive over time.

If you need reinforcements during the planting process, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to call in the Mr. Tree experts to help you with your tree service Oregon needs.