You may have seen them in your neighborhood or in a local park. When it comes to trees, Venues Parks & Arts’ Forestry Division is one of the most knowledgeable and talented teams in the city, averaging 24 years each in the arboriculture field. So, what exactly do they do? Check out the video to learn more about this important work.


South Bend Tree & Lawn Regulations

Standards for Planting Trees & Shrubs, in accordance with Indiana Code Section 19-17:
  • Tree Species- The Board of Park Commissioners, or Executive Director of Venues Parks & Arts develops and maintains a list of desirable trees for planting along streets in three size classes; small, medium, and large.  All trees planted in such areas shall be of healthy stock, not less than 2 inches in caliper.
  • SpacingThe spacing of tree and lawn area trees and shrubs will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in the recommended species of trees list.  No trees may be planted closer together than the following: small trees, 20 feet; medium trees, 30 feet; large trees, 35 feet; except in special plantings designed or approved by the Board of Park Commissioners.
  • Utilities- No tree and lawn area trees other than those species listed there in, as small trees, may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire, or within 5 lateral feet of any underground water, sewer, transmission, or other utility line(s).
  • Distance from curbs and sidewalks- The distance that tree and lawn area trees and shrubs may be planted from curbs or curb lines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species classes listed in Street Tree Master Planning List. No tree or shrub in such areas of street intersections shall be planted less than 15 feet from the intersection of the curbs.  No person shall plant trees within 6 feet of a fire hydrant or in such a manner as to obstruct the view of any street light, traffic sign, signal device, or street intersection (Code 1962 38-17,19).  No tree, lawn area tree, or shrub may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following: small trees (2 feet), medium trees (3 feet), and large trees (4 feet).
  • Hedge or Shrubbery- No hedge or shrubbery planted in the tree and lawn area shall be permitted to grow more than 3 feet high.

When To Get A Permit

A permit is required for trimming, planting or removal of tree lawn trees. The property owner is responsible for planting, trimming and/or removing any tree in the tree lawn area, which includes the grassy area between the sidewalk and curb.  Prior to planting, trimming, or removing any tree in the tree lawn area, the property owner must obtain a permit.  Once the permit is issued, the property owner may choose to do the work themselves or may contact a licensed arborist to complete the work.

To request a permit or list of licensed arborists, please call 574-299-4766. In addition to being responsible for removing dead or diseased trees from the tree lawn, the property owner must be concerned about public safety and ensure that their sidewalk is not obstructed.

City Ordinances

Municipal Code Trees and Vegetation: Ordinance No. 10095-11

Other Documents

Licensed Arborists

Street Tree Master Tree Planting List

Undesirable & Prohibited Trees

Why Topping Hurts Trees

Contact Us

Brent Thompson, Forester