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  • City Arborist: Steve Harris - 473-4330 Ext. 3014  

    Thank you for your interest in ReLeaf Syracuse.





    ReLeaf Syracuse is the City’s new initiative to develop a plan for the future of the City’s trees and to sustain the partnerships to work the plan into reality. The initiative is led by Syracuse Parks Department, Onondaga Earth Corps and a steering committee representing community organizations, business and government agencies.


    It’s been almost 20 years since the devastating Labor Day Storm that toppled thousands of trees across Syracuse (on public and private land). Despite efforts to bring back trees that were lost, Syracuse’s tree canopy cover of 27% has remained relatively unchanged since 1998 and is below the average of 34% for cities east of the Mississippi River. But City officials and numerous community partners want to change that through the initiative ReLeaf Syracuse.



    The purpose of ReLeaf Syracuse is to develop an urban forest master plan that provides a roadmap to a healthy, safe and expanding tree canopy in the city.  The plan will have definable and measurable 5-year and 20-year goals. A critical part of the initiative is to build on and expand partnerships to implement what is proposed in the plan.


    Once complete the new master plan for trees in the city will be used to inform and update the city’s municipal tree ordinance which was last modified in 1981.



    ReLeaf Syracuse was the name of the steering committee formed by Mayor Roy Bernardi to develop a response plan after the devastating loss of trees following the Labor Day Storm of 1998. The committee disbanded in 2001 however, the spirit of that effort and the master plan that was developed after the storm remains the today through community stewardship and youth employment programs dedicated to the planting and care of trees.


    Timeline of activities:

    January 2018                          Convened  Steering Committee  comprised of community stakeholders and tree experts 

    March – May 2018             Held three stakeholder meetings with 40+ attendees, each focused on a different aspect of management of the urban forest.

                                                       The Trees Assessment Matrix

                                                        The Players Assessment Matrix 

                                                        The Management Approach

    July  - September 2018     Community input process to include 7 public meetings throughout the city as well as a survey on people’s opinions about trees.

    November 2018                    Share the results of public input process

    March 2019                           Draft Master Plan for Public Comments

    June 2019                              Release Final Master Plan

    July 2019                               Release Revised Draft Municipal Tree Ordinance for Review

                                                    Reconvene stakeholders to strategize plan implementation

    November 2019                    Submit Ordinance to Common Council for adoption


    How to get involved:                    


    Why Urban Forests Matter:       Stakeholder meeting


    Canopy cover maps:                       Downloadable in quadrants


    State of the Urban Forest Report:


    Syracuse 2016 State of Urban Forest Shapes Planning
    Syracuse, NY (October 3, 2016) – A recently released 2016 State of the Urban Forest report found that Syracuse’s public trees provide an estimated $2 in benefits for every $1 spent on management costs. Here’s how this data — and more — is helping with the City’s master planning process. >>Click here



    Tree Planting Policy  



    Forestry FAQ's  



    Tree Species Planted  





    Lincoln Park ;

    City Plans for Emerald Ash Borer
    Invasion - Video  

    Tree Canopy cover and Human Health Are Linked 


    Jan. 16, 2013  - Evidence is increasing from multiple scientific fields that exposure to the natural environment can improve human health. In a new study by the U.S. Forest Service, the presence of trees was associated with human health. >> Click here for more  

    The Forestry Department provides a continuous program of tree planting, trimming, removal, and stump removal of City street and park trees in order to maintain a safe, healthy and abundant tree population.  To accomplish this, trees with broken or storm damaged limbs must be trimmed, while trees which die, are diseased, or present other safety hazards must be removed before they are allowed to become a danger to city residents. Routine trimming and removals are done year round and stump grinding is done as weather permits. Tree stumps are ground three inches below grade and wood chips from the stump are placed in the depression and level with the existing grade. Topsoil and grass seed is not provided by the city. To report a city tree problem such as a downed or hanging limb, dead/dying/diseased tree, or a routine trimming request please call 448-CITY (2489) for an inspection or  click here  to report it online.

    *Please note, according to city ordinance, no person shall remove any tree, trim branches, or plant any tree or shrub in a city right-of-way or public place without a written permit from the City Arborist. For more information or to obtain a permit, please contact (315) 473-4330.

    Street tree planting is done by homeowner request during the Spring and Fall of each year. Planting requests are honored on a first come first serve basis. A tree planting site inspection will be conducted to determine if a tree can be planted and the best type of tree for that location. Site limitations must be evaluated before choosing a tree. "The right tree for the right location" cannot be over-emphasized. See below for the City of Syracuse  Tree Planting Policy  and  List of Street Trees planted by the Forestry Department . To request a street tree planting in front of your property please  click here  or call (315) 448-CITY (2489) for a planting inspection

    Please note, per city ordinance, no person shall trim or remove any tree in the city right of way without a written permit from the City Arborist.  Tree planting shall not take place in the city right of way or public space without a written permit from the City Arborist.  This applies to all property owner, developers and utilities. For more information or to obtain a permit, please contact (315) 473-4330.





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