The Road to a Thoughtful Street Tree Master Plan

The Road to a Thoughtful Street Tree Master Plan
Streets serve the primary purpose of transportation and utility corridors. However,
research supports roadside planting of trees as contributing to a community’s quality of
life. Together with public parks and open space, street trees are a primary component of
providing a “green” environment. However, many times the type of trees selected and the
locations they are planted are less than ideal and cause numerous issues in the future.
Street trees are an integral part of a
community’s infrastructure, and should
warrant thoughtful planning and budgeted
management. Street trees are guests within
our roadway corridor, yet can provide a
unifying thread in an urban environment.
Therefore, the right tree needs to be placed
in the best place for the right reasons and
be given appropriate after-care. This ongoing challenge currently confronts
decision makers.
This design manual was developed to assist communities and planners to not only select
the best trees for their available planting sites, but also identifies principles of street tree
design to most effectively create public green spaces, positively affect traffic patterns and
create healthy living spaces. The following issues are answered in detail in the report:
1. Is your community street tree receptive?
2. What public attitudes and physical elements of the environment will have a direct
influence on species selection, arrangement and placement?
3. What function should the street trees perform?
4. What is the practical degree of species diversity for a street tree population?
5. What factors should be considered when arranging or combining trees to achieve
an effective street tree planting?
6. Which species should be assigned to tree receptive streets?
7. What factors determine where street trees should be placed and positioned?
8. What information should be included in the master plan document?
9. What circumstances often influence the materialism of thoughtful street tree
master plans?
10. What other actions are required to establish a successful street tree population?
The full report is available at
For more information, contact Gary R. Johnson, University of Minnesota-St. Paul
Department of Forest Resources, at [email protected] or 612.625.3765 or Dan
Gullickson, Mn/DOT Office of Environmental Services, at
[email protected] or 651.366.3610.