Plant a Tree

Which Trees Can Be Planted

The following list of conforming trees is not all inclusive. Please check with the Johnston Tree Board before you plant trees not listed.

Conforming Trees Include

Sugar Maple
Little Leaf Linden
Silver Linden
Green Columnar Maple
Gingko (Male only)
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Crabapples (Columnar)
Burr Oak
English Oak
Red Oak
Freeman Maple
Red Maple
Thornless Honey Locust
American Hophornbeam

Non Conforming Trees

Ash, all varieties (Emerald Ash Borer)
Box Elder
Black Locust
Silver Maple
Tree of Heaven
Willow, all varieties
Siberian Elm
Gingko (female)
Russian Olive

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • When planting a tree, remember to contact Iowa One Call at 800-292-8989 at least 48 hours prior to ensure the plantings will not interfere with utility services
  • Maintain trees and plants so they do not cause a hazard to the public, block public walks or bike/pedestrian paths, or interfere with traffic control signs and street lights.
    • The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion shall be eight feet over walks and 14 feet above the surface of the traveled portion of the street
  • Tree topping is prohibited
  • The homeowner is not responsible for removing diseased or dead wood trees. Notify the Johnston Parks Department for assistance

Planting in the Right-of-Way

Although City ordinance allows for planting street trees if certain standards are met, consider these issues before planting in the public right-of-way (area between the sidewalk and the street):

  • A Right-of-Way permit (ROW) is required for any planting in the public right-of-way
  • The public right-of-way is for the construction and/or repair of utilities such as water, sewer, cable TV, electricity and gas. Trees planted in this area are at risk of being removed or damaged when work is completed on these services
  • Trees require on-going maintenance, including trimming and pruning to the City’s standards, which can sometimes lead to conflict between the property owner and the City
  • If a tree is not being pruned properly, the City retains the right to prune the tree to be in compliance with the ordinance

Tree Planting Standards

  • No landscaping material may be planted which would cause a public danger or nuisance
  • No tree shall be planted closer than four feet to the sidewalk line or the other impervious surface such as curb and gutter line of the street
  • A minimum of eight feet diameter without impervious surface must exist in the parking area, between the curb and sidewalk, to provide adequate growing conditions
  • No street tree or street shrub that will grow more than 30 inches in height shall be planted on a corner lot where two streets intersect- for a distance of 25 feet in any direction from the point of intersection at the curb line (safety zone)
  • No street tree shall be planted within:
    • 15 lateral feet of overhead utility lines
    • Three lateral feet from water and sanitary sewer lines
    • 10 feet from a fire hydrant
    • Five feet from a driveway
    • 25 feet from a traffic control sign
    • Three feet from a sidewalk

Click here for more information from Tree City USA for planting a young tree.