Tree Talk with Highland Park resident & Urban Forester Leanne Wells

New Highland Park resident Leanne Wells is the new Urban Forester with the City of Lafayette. As a representative of the City, Leanne led a discussion about trees at the September 1 HPNA meeting. Takeaways from this “tree talk” include:

  • Many Ash trees throughout Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, and northern Indiana, have succumbed to the Emerald Ash Borer and are either dead or dying. Highland Park is no exception. Should you have an Ash tree that you are concerned about, please contact Leanne. She will advise you of your options – treatment (if still possible) or removal. If treatment is a viable option, it is the responsibility of the homeowner.
  • According to the City’s municipal code, property owners are responsible for the care and maintenance of live, healthy trees in the right-of-way (ROW) in front of their homes. These trees are commonly known as “street trees” and are located in the grassy area between the sidewalk and street. Any pruning, trimming, removal, or planting of trees in the ROW requires using a tree company licensed with the City.
  • Trees adjacent to a sidewalk or street, within the ROW or in a front yard, should have branches no lower than 10 feet over a sidewalk and no lower than 15 feet over the center of a street. Many trees in Highland Park do not comply with the ordinance (8.06.020). In the case where a tree is relatively small or the limbs of the trees are low enough to reach by the homeowner, please contact Leanne to either ask for pruning guidelines or assistance in safe limb removal.
  • Click here to view a diagram illustrating how a three-inch or larger limb should be pruned.
  • Some benefits of living in a beautiful, historic neighborhood, such as Highland Park, include mature landscapes and tree-lined streets. Several large trees in the neighborhood have come down this past spring and summer, because of damage, disease, or the desire to thin out the foliage. If you have had a tree removed from your front yard or in the ROW, please consider replacing it with a new one to maintain our neighborhood’s character. Leanne will assist you in selecting an appropriate size and species of tree. The City has specific guidelines for trees planted in the ROW.
  • Fall is a great time to plant!
  • Leanne Wells, Urban Forester for the City of Lafayette, can be reached at 807-1041 or
  • Click here for a recent Journal & Courier article on trees in or near the right-of-way

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