Identifying Emerald Ash Borer Diseased Trees on City Property

As most of you are well aware – Emerald Ash Borer has been making a significant impact to our tree canopy in Orange City.

As a City we have contracted with local tree removal and landscape contractors to address the downtown streetscape, the parks, and cemetery. Our plan includes trimming, removal, stump grinding, and where possible tree replacement.

In the City right-of-way the property owner is responsible for the care of healthy trees including trimming to a height no lower than 8’ over sidewalks and no lower than 15’ over the street. If trees are causing a hazard, or negatively impacting vision or are too close to street lights, etc. the City has the right to trim these trees.

The City right-of-way is generally defined as the property between the sidewalk and the street – or where there are no sidewalks, the first 15 feet back from the curb.

According to Iowa Code, if trees are diseased or have died, it is the City’s responsibility to have those trees removed from the right-of-way. While property owners are welcome to care for these trees, and have them treated, or trimmed at the owners expense – by Iowa Code the City is ultimately responsible.

The City is in the process of identifying diseased or dead trees in the right-of-way, and seeking bids for their removal over the course of the fall and winter. These trees will be marked and removed as contractors are available.

Trees that are removed will have the stump also ground out, and soil replaced. We will be asking homeowners to seed the area after the trees are removed. At this point we have identified over 100 trees in the community for this first round of removal, we anticipate more in the next few years.

If you have trees on your personal property that have died, you are reminded that it is your responsibility to have them removed, and you are encouraged to contract with a tree service to have them removed. All removed trees should be taken to the tree and compost area on the west end of Orange City, where they will be ground into chips and removed.

Still have questions?

Please feel free to contact Earl Woudstra (City Administrator), Matt Van Schouwen (Public Works Director), or Kurt Frederes (Code Enforcement Officer) with any questions regarding this process. The City Office phone number is 712-707-4885.