Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Fruit trees in the right-of-way - I need some literature

  1. #1
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Atlanta-ish
    Posts
    69

    Fruit trees in the right-of-way - I need some literature

    It was mentioned recently to our Council that the city should not only permit but foster the policy of incorporating fruit trees in our rights of way, specifically street rights of way.

    I won't tell you my opinion on this proposal.

    Suffice it to say, I have come up largely empty so far on my search for objective analysis of the idea.

    Are there any groups (without an agenda) of which you're aware that have published a study or editorial on the practice, without pushing an agenda within the text?

    Does your town allow them? What has your experience been? How does your code read?
    "We are not going to have public meetings to review architecture. Public input ruins the idea of professional review." -Design Review Committee Chairman, 11/04/09

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    As far south of SoCal as I Will Go
    Posts
    5,095
    I am sorry to say but this is a terrible idea for the following reasons:
    Maintenance. When fruit doesn't get picked it rots. It becomes a maintenance nightmare.

    Liability. Someone wants to pick fruit off the tree, climb said tree and falls. A hospital and ambulance chaser later and you have a lawsuit. This is probably the singular reason to not plant these types of tree.

    In times where budgets are slim and not enough workers to do the work, why would want to to plant a burden that keeps on giving?

    I spoke with someone in my town about this. I said if you want to plant fruit trees for all to share, start a co-op neighborhood farm on a lot or petition for a neighborhood garden. Works better for all.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    10,090
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    I spoke with someone in my town about this. I said if you want to plant fruit trees for all to share, start a co-op neighborhood farm on a lot or petition for a neighborhood garden. Works better for all.
    This is the answer. I would imagine that the reason for the fruit trees is to create productive trees, but it just isn't feasible on a municipal service department. Unless you can get groups to sign on to maintain each tree, I would suggest having a larger park have an orchard planted or something similar.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Aliquippa Pa
    Posts
    232
    ...specifically street rights of way.

    Is there a reason to be concerned about wildlife being attracted to such close proximity to traffic?
    Proudly spending today building the dilapidated housing stock of the 22nd century.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,347
    You might poke around at the various public works associations, and perhaps even transportation engineering groups. They might have some literature.

    And it goes without saying that I think this is a bad idea. Create a community orchard or something, but don't use the street ROW.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,471
    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post

    Are there any groups (without an agenda) of which you're aware that have published a study or editorial on the practice, without pushing an agenda within the text?

    Does your town allow them? What has your experience been? How does your code read?
    No study needed for common sense.

    Tell these people they can have the parks but they don't know enough about fruit trees to know why this is a stupid idea. When they learn enough they can apologize for the bad idea.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    410
    I wonder if the originally inquiry for this might be about using fruit trees in right-of-way in instances where homes are abutting such as where sidewalks are detached from the street in front of a single family home and in this parkway strip that's right-of-way, an abutting homeowner would have a fruit tree?

    Our code places maintenance responsibility for trees in right-of-way abutting homes on the municipality, not the abutting homeowner. If code places responsibility on the abutting homeowner, that may make the situation a little more palatable. I think the larger issue could then become abutting homeowners believing they would have exclusive rights to the abutting fruits of their labor (or lack thereof) while general public in right-of-way doesn't. Though I believe people in Boulder, CO have been using parkway strips in right-of-way abutting their homes for gardens.

    All that said, I agree with the sentiment here, your public works/enforcement folks would appreciate not going this route. This question though is timely for me as this exact concept is being explored here with some of our planners (under the concept of incentivizing locally produced food) and I'm the non-planner engineer being critical of it. Nice to know not all planners think alike.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,471
    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    ...

    ...Though I believe people in Boulder, CO have been using parkway strips in right-of-way abutting their homes for gardens.

    All that said, I agree with the sentiment here, your public works/enforcement folks would appreciate not going this route. This question though is timely for me as this exact concept is being explored here with some of our planners (under the concept of incentivizing locally produced food) and I'm the non-planner engineer being critical of it. Nice to know not all planners think alike.
    This planner specializes in green infrastructure (GI), and presents and writes often about it. And I don't recommend fruit trees over roadways. And no one who has seen an unattended fruit tree over a roadway does either. Its dumb. Many better ways exist to fill space with food.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,698
    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    This planner specializes in green infrastructure (GI), and presents and writes often about it. And I don't recommend fruit trees over roadways. And no one who has seen an unattended fruit tree over a roadway does either. Its dumb. Many better ways exist to fill space with food.
    Nobody even mentioned the fact that many common fruit trees like apples, peaches, and plums require precisely timed chemical spraying, which is not only costly, but will also raise a howl from neighbors. Guaranteed.

    Pass on fruit trees on public ROWs. In fact, homeowners would do well to pass on "home fruit orchards" in their own backyards, too, unless they know what they're doing. If they want to grow backyard fruit, plant strawberries, raspberries, and/or currants not trees.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Milwaukee
    Posts
    484
    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post
    It was mentioned recently to our Council that the city should not only permit but foster the policy of incorporating fruit trees in our rights of way, specifically street rights of way.

    I won't tell you my opinion on this proposal.

    Suffice it to say, I have come up largely empty so far on my search for objective analysis of the idea.

    Are there any groups (without an agenda) of which you're aware that have published a study or editorial on the practice, without pushing an agenda within the text?

    Does your town allow them? What has your experience been? How does your code read?

    Why not allow planting of male varieties? There will be no fruit production, but will function as a normal tree while pollinating fruiting trees on private property.

    It's a compromise but win-win.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clearwater, FL
    Posts
    260
    I'm assuming that we're talking street trees here?

    If so, let's forget the maintenance issues outlined above (although I agree with them).

    Let's talk habit and size.

    Typically, fruit trees don't get to a height where they are appropriate to be used as street trees. Remember, trucks have to get under the canopy of these things. You need about a 20' clear space so you need a street that'll get about 40' tall. I'm not seeing too many fruit trees that'll do that.

    Now, if you're talking about setting the trees back about 35' from the edge of pavement then you're all about maintenance - trimming, pruning, fruit picking, herbicides, pesticides, etc.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South of Canada
    Posts
    347
    I know that your question was specific to fruit trees, and I agree with all the sentiments above, but if part of the goal is to just get people connected to the landscape in front of them, Burlington, VT has an interesting TreeKeeper program. I am told it does very well. Obviously your DPW department has to be committed, but otherwise, I like the idea.

    TreeKeeperProgram

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,698
    Quote Originally posted by ThePinkPlanner View post
    I know that your question was specific to fruit trees, and I agree with all the sentiments above, but if part of the goal is to just get people connected to the landscape in front of them, Burlington, VT has an interesting TreeKeeper program. I am told it does very well. Obviously your DPW department has to be committed, but otherwise, I like the idea.

    TreeKeeperProgram
    Jamestown has a similar program. If your house is on a designated "tree needy" street (and most are), you can get a free street tree of your choice from a list of appropriate trees. The city plants and stakes it for you and all you have to do is water it.

    Of course, being a gardener, I not only water my pink flowering crab but fertilize and mulch it as well. I've even given it some "friends" in the form of planting a flower be around it.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,872
    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    I'm assuming that we're talking street trees here?

    If so, let's forget the maintenance issues outlined above (although I agree with them).

    Let's talk habit and size.

    Typically, fruit trees don't get to a height where they are appropriate to be used as street trees. Remember, trucks have to get under the canopy of these things. You need about a 20' clear space so you need a street that'll get about 40' tall. I'm not seeing too many fruit trees that'll do that.

    Now, if you're talking about setting the trees back about 35' from the edge of pavement then you're all about maintenance - trimming, pruning, fruit picking, herbicides, pesticides, etc.
    In my fair city, we don't have a lot of large trees owing to our climate - certainly not very many that grow 40' tall... Nonetheless, we plant many street trees in the planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb with no problems related to trucks. The canopy of a tree of 15 feet in height does not extend beyond the on-street parking lane of residential streets, so it is not really an issue in terms of encroachment on the ROW. And they do require pruning to allow parking beneath where they hang over into the parking lane.

    Here's what we do use: Flowering Bartlet Pear trees are a favorite because of their compact canopy and great appearance in the spring. They don't produce fruit, though. Other trees that are common (and do not grow to 40' high nor require a huge setback from the curbside) include Honey and New Mexico Locusts, Desert Willow (which has a lovely long lasting bloom), Chinese Pistache, and Japanese Plum which I have in front of my house and which I NEVER park under when it is producing fruit - that stuff is so hard to remove from my WHITE car!

    In the past a well-known mayor planted thousands of Chinese Elms and those are the largest street trees we have (much more like the large, canopied streets I grew up with in the East), though I don't think they are planting them anywhere but in parks anymore for shade. Many are now being removed because they are so large and, when they age, tend to drop branches. Same with cottonwoods which, though native to the area, are banned (well certain varieties) because of their contribution to pollen and allergies.

    So far as I know, there are no restrictions on planting fruit trees int he planting strip and I see many Japanese Plum, Apple and Pear trees around. Also Mulberry (the males are a terrible allergen but the females make a great clustered berry). Yes, these cause issues dropping on cars and make something of a mess, but nothing so terrible that the City wants to remove them. Also, most fruit trees are fairly diminutive and wouldn't require climbing to get at the fruit. Lastly, I don't knwo about where you all live, but fruit from our street trees doesn't lay around and fester very much. Birds and other critters tend to eat a lot of it before it becomes a big problem.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clearwater, FL
    Posts
    260
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    In my fair city, we don't have a lot of large trees owing to our climate - certainly not very many that grow 40' tall... Nonetheless, we plant many street trees in the planting strip between the sidewalk and the curb with no problems related to trucks. The canopy of a tree of 15 feet in height does not extend beyond the on-street parking lane of residential streets, so it is not really an issue in terms of encroachment on the ROW. And they do require pruning to allow parking beneath where they hang over into the parking lane.
    Yup - always exceptions to the rule. In fact, tons when it comes to plants. Vase-shaped trees (i.e. zelkova) are great as they can be planted closer to the street without much worry about pruning up the canopy.

    I still stand with the masses on this one - for street trees there are tons of choices other than fruit trees that would better serve the purposes of a street tree.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,471
    Sorry, one of my hats is an urban forester hat:

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Here's what we do use: Flowering [Bradford] Pear trees are a favorite because of their compact canopy and great appearance in the spring. They don't produce fruit, though. [And die quickly, are invasive in many states, and are poor choices as they tend to split due to poor branch angles].


    Other trees that are common (and do not grow to 40' high nor require a huge setback from the curbside) include Honey and New Mexico Locusts, Desert Willow (which has a lovely long lasting bloom), Chinese Pistache,[these are cool, desert willow spreads and needs maintenance]
    From your description, I know your town. I know your old city forester. He'd disagree with several of the things you said that I snipped, and I merely write this to say that the Forestry Dept in 92.5% of places in this country has a handle on all this, has an approved list (the ROW is public property after all), and many depts will talk to the citizenry about trees in the ROW.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Planning literature
    Student Commons
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 12 Jun 2011, 12:48 PM
  2. Replies: 8
    Last post: 31 Mar 2009, 1:47 PM
  3. Replies: 18
    Last post: 31 Oct 2008, 10:56 PM
  4. Best literature - BRT vs LRT?
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 17
    Last post: 15 Sep 2006, 3:20 PM
  5. Literature on UGBs (?)
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 29 Jan 2004, 1:10 PM