Street Trees

As the City of Trees, Boise has a reputation to uphold!  That's the mission of Boise Community Forestry Unit of the Boise Parks and Recreation Department!

Boise has very few native trees, so like many community forests in the inland northwest region, Boise's community forest is created, not naturally occurring. These forests require continual management and renewal in order to preserve them and the benefits they provide.

Boise's community forest consists of a diverse array of evergreen and deciduous trees, composed of over 150 different species. There are more than 40,000 public trees, with an estimated 200,000 trees on private properties within the city.

Our programs and services are directed at the PUBLICLY owned portion of Boise's community forest, which includes street, city park, Greenbelt, and city-owned cemetery trees.

What are public property trees?

Public property trees are predominantly found on rights-of-way and in city parks. Rights-of-way are strips of land set aside for public uses, such as streets, sidewalks, utilities, and trees. Rights-of-way within Boise City limits are Ada County Highway District and Idaho Department of Transportation. The widths vary from street to street with many streets having no space for right-of-way trees at all.


In the photo (above), the area bounded by the white lines is public right-of-way. Generally, the space between the sidewalk and the curb is a good indicator of right-of-way; however, in the absence of a sidewalk, right-of-way likely extends beyond the street edge a certain distance. Contact Community Forestry to determine whether or not a tree is on the public right-of-way or if there is adequate space available to plant a tree.

PLEASE NOTE: A permit is required to plant, prune or remove any tree on public right of way in Boise!

It is not always easy to tell if a tree is on the public right-of-way (a "street tree").  Generally, any tree in a parkway strip between curb and sidewalk is on right-of-way.  However, there are many areas in the city where there are no parkway strips, but still have many public right-of-way street trees.  If you are unsure if your trees are on public right-of-way, call (208) 608-7700 or Email our office.  Inspections and permits are free of charge!

Tree Ordinance and Management Plan

In 1952, the City of Boise became one of the first cities in the western United States to pass a Tree Ordinance. This legal document was created to protect and preserve the public trees growing in Boise's urban forest.

More recently, a five year management plan to guide was developed to guide the planning, management and care of the urban forest in Boise.  The plan was developed by members of the community as well as Community Forestry staff. This plan, updated every five years, was approved by Boise City Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Boise City Council.