Street Trees

Trees benefit everyone in Ellensburg. They reduce storm water runoff, stabilize soil, enhance the ecological environment, improve property values, and enhance the general aesthetics and welfare of the community. 

Ellensburg is a city that cares about its trees, and in 1983 became the first community in the State of Washington to be designated as a Tree City USA.

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What is a Street Tree?

Street trees are those trees growing in the City's road right of way. There are over 5,600 street trees in Ellensburg. Most of the 490+ trees that are City planted and maintained are in the downtown area.

Street trees are usually located in one of 3 locations:

Central Business District: Trees are typically in 'tree pits' in downtown sidewalks. Most, but not all, of these trees were planted by and are maintained by the City.

Planting strips: A 'planting strip' is the area between the street's edge or curb and the sidewalk. There are approximately 1,275 trees located in planting strips. Planting strip trees are typically maintained by the adjacent property owner. 

Undeveloped portions of the right of way adjacent to the property: In most of the older parts of town, the platted right of way is eighty feet wide. Typically, the developed portion of the roadway is about 50 to 60 feet from back of walk to back of walk, leaving an undeveloped portion of right of way behind the curb or sidewalk of up to 10 to 15 feet in width. Almost all of these approximately 3,860 street trees located in the undeveloped portions of the right of way are maintained by the adjacent property owner.

Top 10 Species of Street Trees in Ellensburg

 % of total in inventory

  • 8.7% - Norway Maple
  • 6.1% - Red Maple 
  • 6.0% - Siberian Elm
  • 5.4% - Colorado Spruce
  • 5.2% - Flowering Plum
  • 4.2% - Crab Apple
  • 4.0% - Honey Locust
  • 4.0% - Callery Pear
  • 3.3% Sugar Maple
  • 3.0% Little Leaf Linden

 Benefits of Trees

Trees provide important environmental, social and economic benefits for all. One mature tree 

  • intercepts 760 gallons of rainfall
  • produces 260 pounds of oxygen
  • absorbs 10 pounds of airborne pollutants
  • sequesters 100 pounds of carbon dioxide
  • stabilizes soils, which reduces erosion
  • provides food and habitat for wildlife
  • increases your home’s value up to 20%
  • dramatically reduces heating and cooling costs when strategically planted in your yard.

 Being a good neighbor

A property owner may prune branches that overhang the property line, providing that the pruning does not harm the health or structure of the tree. Be a good neighbor and work together to resolve issues regarding vegetation on property lines. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree itself. Trees are considered property and a person who intentionally injures someone else's tree is liable to the owner for property damage.

For assistance with street trees, contact City staff at (509) 962-7237. If your concern pertains to overhead power lines and trees, contact the City's Electric Division at (509) 962-7124. 

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