Trees Near Power Lines

Trees near Consumers Energy power lines are the responsibility of Consumers Energy to maintain. If a tree has fallen on to power lines, or branches are breaking on to power lines, please submit a service request to Consumers Energy through this link. This applies to power lines in the city right-of-way and to power lines on easements within private property. Submitting service requests to Consumers Energy is the only way for problems to be addressed. The city does not cut or trim trees around power lines. Communication utilities (i.e. Comcast and AT&T) may also have utility lines on the same poles as Consumers Energy power lines. Power lines are the lines furthest from the ground on the top of the pole.

Tree Planting Program

The city has an annual tree planting program available to residents who are interested in sharing the cost of a new tree to be planted in the out-lawn area (between the sidewalk and the street) of their home.  Orders are taken throughout the year, with October 1 being the deadline for placing and order.

The cost for each tree is shared between the homeowner and the city, with each party paying for half the average unit price bid for the trees. Bids are taken by the city in September of each year, while planting takes place generally during the months of October and December.

Download Tree Planting Program Order Form

Comparison spreadsheet of available trees

Please contact 616-940-4817 for more information on this program.

Types of Trees

The types of trees currently being offered for planting in the out-lawn are as follows:   

These trees are perfect under utility lines and in smaller outlawn areas: 

Red Horse Chestnut:  Lustrous large, dark green leaves with no fall color; showy bright red 6-10” flower spikes; moderate growth rate.  Mature height of 20-30 feet.

Chanticleer Pear:  A profusion of flowers in the spring, simple oval leaves that are dark green in the summer, turning orange to gold-red to red-purple in the fall.  Yields hard pea-sized to 1/" fruit that is brownish or russet colored which persists into the winter. Medium growth rate.  Mature height of 35-40 feet.  

Autumn Brilliance Juneberry:  Forms a dense, oval habit and produces masses of spring flowers that open light pink and turn white; produces purplish-black fruit which the birds love; dramatic fall color of orange, red and yellow.  Fast growing.  Mature height of 15-20 feet.

Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn:  Clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by dark red berries; rounded glossy green leaves which turn bright yellow to orange in the fall.  Fast growing.  Mature height:  15-25 feet.

Japanese Tree Lilac: Clusters of foot-long, white, fragrant flowers in early summer.  After flowers fade, the tree produces seed capsules that attract songbirds.  Mature height 15 – 30 feet.


These trees must not be planted under utility lines.  The outlawn must be greater than 48 inches in width:

Greenspire Linden:  Tiny yellow, fragrant flowers appear in early summer and small, heart-shaped green leaves which turn yellow in fall.  Fairly fast growing.  Mature height 30 -50 feet.

Gingko:  Distinct, beautiful tree.  Fan-shaped bright green leaves that turn a stunning yellow in the fall.  Grows at a medium rate.  Mature height 25 – 50 feet.

Tulip Tree:  Leaves are 3-6" long with distinctive lobes, flat base and two ear-like tips turning vibrant yellow in the fall. Tulip-shaped flowers with greenish-yellow petals with a splash of orange at the base.  Attractive shape and interesting reddish bark with white markings provide year –round interest. Fast growing.  Mature height:  70 – 90 feet.

Green Vase Zelkova:  A graceful shape, clean foliage, attractive bark.  Oblong green leaves turn to yellow in fall, but can be a bronzy red in dry weather.  Fast growing, somewhat wide spreading.  Mature height:  60 – 80 feet.

Skyline Locust:  Deep dark green leaves persist late in fall turning to yellow-green.  Produces a few pods infrequently.  Vigorous grower with a straight trunk and graceful ascending branches.  Mature height: 60-70 feet.

New trees cannot be planted where a tree was recently removed because of the root mass still under ground.

In 2016, the City hired Davey Resources to complete an inventory of all trees along city streets and in parks and natural areas.  The inventory will allow the city to care for the existing trees and to strategically plan for future planting and maintenance.

Tree Maintenance Program

In 2016 the City of East Grand Rapids completed a tree inventory and risk assessment of approximately all 7,200 trees in the public right-of-way and developed a targeted preventative maintenance approach to managing the public right-of-way tree canopy. Similar to the sidewalk replacement program, target areas within the City are designated for an in depth assessment and subsequent appropriate treatments. Progress in each zone is limited to budgeted funds. This year the targeted area is within “Zone 3”. The City still manages right-of –way trees outside of the target area based on reported concerns and street view assessments.

Click here for the tree maintenance cycle map.

Outside Contractors

When necessary, the city contracts with a tree care company for any problem trees that are not within the area that is currently being targeted. The contractor provides the city with the expertise of a certified arborist capable of assessing tree conditions and making recommendations to save or remove trees.
This arborist provides consultation to the city on an as-needed basis for such items as Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, gypsy moths, and overall tree health and condition.

Reporting Trees for Maintenance

Please report the following to the Public Works Department:

  • Diseased trees, or suspected diseased trees
  • Low-hanging branches or other unsafe conditions

Gypsy Moth Information

UPDATE: The Gypsy Moth spraying treatment was preformed the morning of Monday, 6/3/19. The City forestry consultant completed an inspection of the treatment area on 6/6/19. There appears to be numerous caterpillar mortality, but the full impact will not be known until later this year after further follow up inspections. Mortality from the inspection appears to show a combination of natural disease pressure (from a wet spring which helps spread natural disease throughout the population) and treatment are having an impact. The city will provide further updates as needed.

The city has been monitoring the existence of Gypsy Moth within the southwest part of the city. Below you will find links to a map of the effected area, a letter that was sent out to residents within that area, and further information by MSU-Extension and other governmental agencies related to Gypsy Moth. If you have questions or comments, please contact the Public Works Administration office.

Gypsy Moth FAQ
Map of Affected Area
1st Letter Sent to Residents
2nd Letter Sent to Residents
MSU-Extension Information
MSU Btu Treatment Information Sheet
MDNR Gypsy Moth Bulletin
MSU-Extension Gypsy Moth Outbreak Update 8/22/2019

At the March 18, 2019, City Commission meeting, the City Commission approved a variation of treatment mechanisms. The City of East Grand Rapids is partnering with Hamilton Helicopters, Inc. to perform gypsy moth spray treatment in May/June of 2019. The exact day and time of the spray will be determined by weather, including rain and wind conditions. The City will also be providing tree wrap bands to residents within the impacted area. Residents within this area may stop by the Department of Public Works Administration office in the lower level of City Hall to pick up tree wrap bands (once available). Additional details regarding the spray treatment will be sent out by a mailed notice and announced via e-news alert and on the City's Facebook page.

Below is supplemental information from the March 18, 2019, City Commission meeting:

Gypsy Moth Management Program 2020 Memo
Gypsy Moth Management Consultant Memo

Below is a letter sent to residents on March 27, 2019, detailing how the city will be moving forward with Gypsy Moth treatment.
Gypsy Moth Notice of Treatment Spring 2019

The intent of the spray treatment is to offer relief from those trees that have been significantly impacted by multiple years of defoliation. Therefore, the treatment area is not based on the presence of caterpillars, but rather how heavily the caterpillars are impacting tree health. While evidence of caterpillars is present in many locations, the trees were not as severely impacted as those within the treatment area. Property owners outside of the targeted area may still implement their own treatment options such as the use of tree bands, injection spikes, or ground level spraying.