Community Forestry Program
Moscow’s community forestry program strives to encourage the preservation, expansion, protection, and proper maintenance of the community forest of the City. Its primary goal is to enhance the beauty of the City, stimulating the planting and growing of desirable trees and educating the public about the community forest. Moscow’s Community Forestry Ordinance and Arboricultural Specifications and Standards Guide detail the rules and guidelines that help guide Moscow’s program.
The Moscow Tree Commission is a group of seven individuals from diverse backgrounds who advise the Mayor and City Council regarding the preservation, protection, and management of Moscow’s community forest. The Commission also hears appeals from citizens and licensed and certified tree professionals who are aggrieved by the granting or denying of tree permits or license/certification procedures.
In Moscow, care of trees in the public right-of-way is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. Permits are required to plant or remove trees in the public right-of-way. Permits are free, but require approval from the Community Forestry Administrator. A Tree Selection Guide for Street Tree Planting is also available online and explains the permit process and proper planting procedures.
There is a street tree planting program that allows property owners in Moscow’s Newest Subdivisions to obtain vouchers that can be used for the purchase of trees to plant in the wide tree lawns adjacent to their properties. These tree lawns are wide enough to accommodate large-growing trees and homeowners are encouraged to plant large-growing trees there to continue the tradition established in Moscow’s older neighborhoods like the Fort Russell District. Follow the link above to learn more about the process of obtaining your free tree voucher.
Topping trees in the public rights-of-way is strictly forbidden, except in special circumstances with an approved permit. Topping is the severe cutting back of limbs within a tree’s crown to such a degree that only stubs remain or the removal of the top part (trunk and limbs) of a coniferous tree, thereby removing a significant portion of the normal crown. Topping is a harmful practice that can significantly shorten a tree’s life and can lead to hazardous conditions through the promotion of decay and weakly attached vigorous new growth. Moscow’s tree service contractors follow established arboricultural practice and will not top a tree without a valid permit.
Tree contractors who work for a fee in the City are required to hold a valid City tree service contractors license and anyone working as a professional arborist is required to hold a valid Moscow tree worker certificate. Licensed contractors carry appropriate insurance and certified tree workers are required to pass an examination prior to issuance of their certificates. A list of currently licensed tree service contractors is available here, or contact Moscow Parks and Recreation at 208.883.7084.