Policy for Protection of Public Right-of-Way Trees

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In order to protect the trees within the public right-of-way from as much damage as possible when excavation is taking place, the Ames City Council has established the following policy:

New Construction in New Development Areas.  No open excavation is allowed within the tree dripline or as detailed from the following chart developed by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The smaller dimensions or the dripline shall be used for the required tunneling distances. In addition, care must be taken to protect all roots 2 inches or larger from damage.

Tree Diameter     

Minimum Distance of Tunneling
From A
ny Side of the Tree

2 to 9 inches 5 feet
10 to 14 inches 10 feet
15 to 19 inches 12 feet
over 19 inches 15 feet

Construction and/or Maintenance in Developed Areas.  
Appropriate measures are used not to cut any root 2 inches or larger. This can be accomplished by careful open cut or tunneling per the standards above. If a 2-inch or larger root must be cut due to the position of the underground facility, the Public Works Department must be contacted to ascertain the appropriate remedial steps to take to minimize the tree damage.

Penalty for Damage to Public Right-of-Way Trees.  Should a right-of-way tree sustain damage due to careless excavation, the offending party will be required to compensate the City for the loss of the tree and the cost to remove it. The tree value will be determined by an independent appraisal completed by a landscaping person competent to make such an appraisal.