Trees & Tree Canopy
Residents can call 859-292-3686 or email the City of Newport to contact the Newport Community Services Department with questions on any tree issue.
About Public Street & Park Trees in Newport
The City of Newport acknowledges how important trees and tree canopy is for a livable community. Trees and tree canopy is important to the City of Newport for a number of reasons, read the executive summary here.
We take seriously the stewardship of our trees and work to implement our community goal in place.
Tree Canopy Goal in Newport
The City of Newport recognizes the value of trees within the community. As such, Newport's goal is to, at minimum, maintain the existing tree canopy cover (amount of city covered by trees when viewed from above) at the current 33%, while working to improve the quality and health of the current canopy as well as equalize the tree canopy cover between neighborhoods - all while maintaining public safety.
Efforts to Work Toward These Goals
The City has taken a number of steps to work toward the tree canopy goals described:
- Part-time Arborist on Staff - Newport now has an ISA Certified Arborist on staff on a part-time basis to provide expert assistance in the proper care, maintenance and reforesting of the City of Newport.
- Building a Proactive Care Program - The City is taking steps to transition into a proactive care program for its public trees. Though a proactive care program can take time to implement properly, this is considered the best practices for care of public trees, and will reduce risk, extend the life of our trees, and in the long term will increase canopy and save the city money. Each year a small section of the public trees will be re-assessed and re-inventoried, and appropriate proactive care (primarily pruning) performed later that year.
- Updates to Tree Protection - The public tree ordinance was updated in 2019 to better clarify responsibilities, utilize industry standards, and set up rules (and fines) for any damage inflicted on these important city assets. Note: Permission is required before any work (planting, pruning, etc.) can be done on any street or park tree. Fines will be incurred for failure to follow the ordinance regulations. View the Tree Ordinance Summary/Highlights (PDF).
- Incorporating Trees in New Development - The city arborist will be involved reviewing plans for development projects.
- Tree Planting Support - The City will continue to work with the community on volunteer planting projects.
- Volunteer Tree Planting - We have many groups who volunteer to plant trees in the City. Please read the guidelines before you plant.
How We Manage Our Trees
How does the City manage its trees? All efforts to manage public trees are based on working toward the goal above. There are two structures in place that guide our daily management of city trees in Newport:
- City Code: "Chapter 94 - Trees" of the Newport Code of Ordinances was updated in 2019 based on national best practices in tree care and management.
- Management Policies and Procedures: There are then policies and procedures in place that guide the everyday management of this important asset.
These two pieces together build our management program.
Duke Energy is scheduled to prune tree branches away from overhead power lines in the East Row neighborhood starting in February and continuing through the spring of 2020. Learn more in the Tree Pruning by Duke brochure (PDF).
What We Get From Trees
In cities across the country, there are many residents who lament the presence of urban trees, citing a number of problems. The most common of which are that they are messy, damage sidewalks and are sources of potential property damage from falling limbs or total tree failure. However, thanks to new technology and modeling tools, trees have now been proven as valuable city infrastructure and critical to vibrant communities because of the benefits they provide, with benefits shown to outweigh the maintenance related work associated with trees.
1. Trees Provide Effective & Low-Cost Solutions to a Myriad of Urban Challenges
Urban trees have proven to be an effective tool across multiple city management areas, including planning, economic development, public health, and sanitation. They have been proven to alleviate water and air pollution, improve public health, increase property value, and enhance the success of business districts.
2. Trees Are a Smart Investment
On an annual basis, cities often see a strong return on investment related to tree costs and benefits. A recent five-city study found that cities accrued benefits ranging from $1.50 to $3 for every dollar invested in trees (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2015).
3. Trees Increase in Value Over Time
Unlike man-made systems, trees are the only urban infrastructure that actually increase services and value over time. As trees mature, benefits increase exponentially, unlike more traditional city infrastructure such as roads and bridges that deteriorate with age.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a pest from Asia that has been killing ash trees in the U.S. since it was found in 2002 near Detroit, Michigan. By 2009 it had migrated to our area (largely through sale of infested firewood). Once infected, an ash tree can die within just 4 to 5 years, and often become extremely brittle and lose limbs well before death. Though treatment options do exist, they are expensive and must be reapplied regularly. To learn more about the emerald ash borer, visit the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture's Emerald Ash Borer page.