Tree Board to Report to Council in Advance of Appointment
Posted on 12/29/2020
The Tree Board staff liaison will report on board activity to the Council at their Jan. 4 meeting. The Board is now open to citizen applicants.

The City of Cape Girardeau has held Tree City USA status since 2000, and we are entering our 21st year, which is a statement to the commitment of the City, our Tree Board members, our Parks, Recreation and Public Works professionals that not only value the benefit that trees bring to our public spaces, but to the ongoing care and maintenance required to keep our public trees healthy. The City Tree Board authority comes about through City Council action in its establishment of Article II. – TREES AND SHRUBS under Chapter 24 of the Muni Code STREETS AND SIDEWALKS.

Council will be presented with a copy of the full ordinance as part of their January 4 meeting materials. The main responsibility of the Tree Board is to provide for an annual planning and reporting process for our public trees that are located in our right of way, on city facilities and in our parks. This plan includes evaluation of tree health, inspecting potential problematic trees as requested by citizens, tree removal, planning for future projects, new plantings, pruning and overall tree maintenance as needed.  The Tree Board regularly updates the recommendation list for Public Tree’s to be planted (see chart) along with designating exceptional trees when appropriate. It is important to note that the Tree Board jurisdiction does not extend to private property; with the exception if the tree in question is diseased or constitutes a risk or safety issue to public property.

Over the years the Tree Board has been involved in many projects including the first Friday of each April, which is Missouri Arbor Day, the board partners with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the S.E.M.O. Horticultural Club to plant trees in parks and public spaces. In 2012 and 2020 the Tree Board received the Missouri Department of Conservation’s T.R.I.M. Grant which allowed the board and the Parks and Recreation Department to complete a Tree Inventory in advance of the Capaha Park Master Plan improvements and provide education programs on the benefit of trees. This year the grant will provide for an inventory at Arena Park and fund a Tree Master Plan for the park prior to PRS2 improvements being initiated. Several years ago the Tree Board partnered with the Keep Cape Beautiful Committee to apply for a grant which funded a new trail head at Osage Park and educational kiosks and trees planted adjacent to the Cape LaCroix Trail.

In the future, the Tree Board would like to work on identifying exceptional trees within the City of Cape Girardeau. The Board would like to be able to provide additional education programs to the public and business, working with the City on tree mitigation ideas and improving best practices with the local development community regarding to storm water management and tree protection on development sites. The Tree Board would like to further guidance on decisions/collaboration with constituents to continue supporting a healthy urban forest canopy.  The Tree Board is working with SEMO University to establish a “Tree Campus USA”. The Board would like to continue to promote enhancing public spaces to improve overall aesthetics, value and benefit to the public and wildlife.

Visit the Tree Board webpage for the roster, meeting information and documents.