Tree Planting

Planting Trees on Private Property

Know Your Property Boundaries

A permit is not required to plant a tree within a residential lot, but homeowners must understand their lot boundary does not extend to the street:
  • A lot boundary typically stops about one foot from the house-side of the sidewalk, but that distance can vary. To see the approximate location of your lot boundaries, use the Johnson County Property Information Viewer.
  • If property pins are not visible and cannot be located with a metal detector, contact a Licensed Professional Land Surveyor for assistance. 
  • It is the homeowner’s responsibility to confirm the tree is planted within their lot.  

Locate Utilities & Easements

Before finalizing where to plant:
  1. Call Iowa One Call at 811 or 1.800.292.8989 to locate and mark utilities. Or, file a locate request online
  2. See "Where to Plant" below for information about easements that may be on your property.

Plant in the Right Place

Existing structures, property lines, overhead and underground utilities, easements, and the size of the tree when mature should be taken into consideration when selecting and planting a tree.
Blackgum tree leaves

Tree Planting in Right of Way

A Permit Is Required

Planting trees in the parking right of way (the public space between the street curb and sidewalk) requires a tree planting permit. There are guidelines for placement, size, and species so that trees in the parking right of way do not block traffic, signs, pedestrians, or utilities.  

Planting Permit

The Right of Way Tree Planting Permit Application fee is $15. To apply to plant a tree in the parking right of way:

Selecting a Tree

The property owner is responsible for the cost of the tree, planting, care, and maintenance for trees in the parking right of way. Information about tree selection, restrictions, and placement is available in the Right of Way Tree Planting Guidelines.

For additional information, please contact the Coralville Parks Division at 319.248.1780.

Choosing the Right Place & the Right Tree

Where to Plant

  • Location: It is important to put the right tree in the right place. Look at the location and how close it is to buildings, other trees, and overhead power lines. Always consider the mature size of the tree when selecting a tree and its site.    
  • Soil and sun: Determine what type of soil is at the site where the tree will be planted. Pick a species that tolerates that soil type (clay, sandy, compacted, etc.), and consider how much sun and moisture it will need to be healthy.   
  • Utilities and easements: It is common to have easements running parallel to the street and within the lot, and down side lot lines or along rear lot lines. If you have an easement on your property, conditions apply to use this part of the land. If you plant in the easement, you risk losing the tree if crews need to access the underground utilities. 
    • A utility easement may contain public water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, or private utilities like electric, gas, phone, cable, or internet. In addition to trees blocking access to the underground utilities, tree roots can damage the utility that lies beneath.
    • A drainage easement may be the pathway for stormwater runoff to flow, and blocking it could cause localized flooding. 

Type of Tree

  • When selecting a tree, take a look around your neighborhood and choose a tree that is not overused. 
  • Planting a variety of tree species is crucial to the health of the urban forest. This will help reduce future loss of the urban canopy due to storms, insects, and disease, and it is critical to future biodiversity efforts.
  • Along with ash trees (which are being lost to emerald ash borer), maples have been overused, making up almost one third of the trees within Iowa communities. For a list of diverse species, see Selecting Trees For Your Yard

Utility easement

Flags for utilities between houses

Memorial & Tribute Trees

A memorial or tribute tree can purchased and planted on City property to honor a loved one or commemorate a special occasion. Learn more about tribute trees.

Emerald Ash Borer

See information about dealing with emerald ash borer on the Emerald Ash Borer page.