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Tree Planting

St Matthews Trees

City Arborist 

Mr. Daryl Cleary is the City of St. Matthews arborist, who is trained and experienced as an urban forester. Mr. Cleary works with city residence to protect and increase the tree canopy throughout our city and reduce the urban heat island effect using healthy maintenance practices.

Residents must obtain approval from the city arborist if they are interested in removing an existing tree, or planting any tree not provided by the city, in any public right-of-way abutting their respective properties.

Mr. Cleary is knowledgeable in the practice of trimming trees to protect power lines, sidewalks, and roadways, and experienced in structural pruning, or deadwooding trees, with a focused on improving the appearance and health of trees while reducing the risks they present to the people around them. If you have a question or concern about any tree in the right-or-way or on your personal property, Mr. Cleary will be happy to share with you his knowledge and experience.

Johnny Appleseed would be proud to reside in St. Matthews where red sunset maples, ash, black locust, zelkova, linden, ornamental pear, and other species have been planted since the city’s tree planting program began in 1995.

To contact the city arborist about an inspection of a tree in the public right-of way, or general tree questions call (502) 899-2544, or email via the Contact Us online form.

Thinking of Planting a New Tree?

Free Trees

The City of St. Matthews Public Works Department plants new trees in the right-of-way areas throughout the city yearly during the month of January. These city trees are native species which are best suited to our area and will require minimal effort to maintain. Never top a tree, as trees need a strong center leader or they will go into decline. Public Works will offer city arborist approved choices of deciduous shade street trees for the property owner to select from. Once the tree is planted it becomes the abutting property owner’s responsibility.

To request a free tree to be planted in front of your property, in the right-of-way area, contact St. Matthews Public Works at (502) 899-2517, or use the Request a Tree form on the left of this page.

Plant Your Own Tree 

Property owners may choose to plant their own species of tree at their expense, in the right-of-way area, with prior approval from the city arborist. Once the tree is planted it becomes the abutting property owner’s responsibility. Trees disallowed to be planted in the right-of-way are species that bear fruit, trees that drop seeds or other growth continuously or annually, and Evergreens that may block sunlight on adjacent sidewalks which could hinder the melting of ice during the winter season.  In addition, trees planted in the right-of-way must have a sidewalk clearance height of 8 to 10 feet, and a street clearance height of 14 feet.

Need a Tree Removed? 

Tree removal is the responsibility of the property owner, including trees in the right-of-way area in front of the property. Trees in the public right-of way must be inspected, and approved for removal by the City of St. Matthews arborist, or city designated agent, before any removal can be performed. Property owners who remove trees without approval are subject to fines and/or legal prosecution.

The property owner may additionally request that the city plant a replacement tree in the right-of-way area where a tree was removed.

Free Stump Grinding 

A property owner who has removed a tree, located in the city right-of-way, with the approval of the city arborist, is eligible to request the remaining tree stump be ground at no charge by the city Public Works Department.

Are you thinking of planting a tree on your property to increase your home’s value, reduce utility bills, or provide shade or shelter from the weather?

If so, it is important to select the right tree for the right location. Pay attention to the shape of the tree. Column shaped trees, such as Northeast cypress and spruce, grow in less space, while round and V – shaped trees provide the most shade. Avoid fruit trees that will grow over public sidewalks and roadways, or any tree that will obstruct the view of vehicular traffic. Always avoid planting near underground and overhead utilities. Remember, deciduous shade trees placed on the south and west of your home will provide shade in the summer, while allowing the sun to shine in during the winter. Evergreen Trees are best planted on the North and East side of your home.


Know What’s Below. Call Before You Dig

24 Hours a Day   7 Days a Week   Telephone   811 / 502-266-5123 / 800-752-6007

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