City Tree Policies

Maintaining a Viable Urban Forest

Under the watchful eye of the Department of Public Works (DPW), the City of Sterling Heights has distinguished itself as an urban forest amid the maze of suburbs that make up southeastern Michigan.

A total of 26 consecutive Tree City U.S.A. awards and the successful removal of thousands of Ash trees from city streets infested with Emerald Ash Borers serve as proof that the city places an emphasis on the health of its urban forest. Residents can play a key part in the City’s beautification through their voluntary efforts to reforest the City’s tree population that was previously decimated by the Ash tree removal program.

Tree Removal & Planting Process

The ultimate objective of the City is to maintain a viable urban forest. This is achieved through periodic inspection and maintenance, preservation of healthy street trees as well as removal of City street trees, only when extreme circumstances exist. Please refer to the following to better understand the City's street tree removal policies and services.
  1. 1. Tree Inspections
  2. 2. Removal of City Trees
  3. 3.Sidewalk Warranty
  4. 4. Tree Stumps

Tree Inspections

Residents with specific complaints or concerns regarding a street tree growing in the public right-of-way may request a tree inspection. The DPW conducts tree inspections at no cost to the resident. Requests for tree inspections are initiated by calling the DPW at 586-446-2440. Upon completion of the inspection, residents are contacted by telephone or written notice with a determination.

Street Tree Planting / Replacement

Except as provided in step number 2 above, homeowners who have a City street tree removed in accordance with this policy are required to purchase a street tree replacement. Trees are available from the City and are planted in the spring and fall of each year.

Purchasing Replacement Trees

Residents needing a replacement tree can purchase that tree from the city. For a cost of $300 the City will purchase a replacement tree of your choice from the approved tree list and will plant it in front of your home. DPW employees plant trees in the spring and fall of each year when they are available from the nursery. Each tree is guaranteed for a period of 1 year, from the date of planting, except in cases of mechanical injury or vandalism.

Homeowners wishing to purchase and plant a city street tree in the right-of-way on their own, are reminded that the Chapter 51-6 of the Code of Ordinances provides general regulations and guidelines for anyone working in the road right-of-ways with replacement trees. These regulations include tree trunk minimum diameter specifications, 30 foot tree-to-tree spacing, tree trimming, soil materials, etc.

Additionally, residents should be aware that trees must be planted at least 10 feet from a fire hydrant/drive way and 5 feet from a manhole cover.