Here to help

Do you have a plant problem in your home landscape? Maybe your back yard maple has some strange bumps on its leaves; your flowering crab is losing foliage in midsummer; or you think some of your trees might need pruning; please do not hesitate to contact the City Forester. If you have any questions concerning trees and shrubs on your property, or City property, we will be happy to come and look at the problem and advise you on the proper procedure, treatment, or general care for your landscape plants.

Please reach out to the De Pere Forestry Department at (920) 339-8362 to get started. 

Additional tips and resources

Tree Care Maintenance 

Trees are the most valuable plant you have on your property. Trees will increase your property value plus provide an aesthetically pleasing environment for you and your family. Shade trees are the natural air-conditioners; they will filter out soot from the air, absorb noise and provide shade. Annual care of your trees should be provided to protect your investment. The following are a few tips that will assist you in caring for your new or established trees. There is also a diagram to show you the proper way to plant a tree.


Your new tree will require periodic watering for two or three years after planting. A thorough weekly watering is much better for the trees than light daily water. Don't over water! If the soil is still wet from a recent rain or previous watering, delay watering until the soil is dry or just slightly damp. Too much water can be just as harmful as not enough water. Remember - older trees also need moisture in dry times. Water established trees approximately 1" - 2" per week.


The use of wood chips can be very important in maintaining healthy, attractive yard plantings such as trees, shrubs and flower beds. Apply a 3 - 4 inch layer of mulch on the soil surface above the tree's root system. Mulch helps to preserve moisture, control weeds and moderate soil temperature extremes. Wood chips, shredded bark, ground corncobs or similar materials make good mulches. Please remember: do not pile mulch against the trunk of a tree or shrub, as this is detrimental to the plants health. The De Pere Park, Recreation & Forestry office has free wood chips/mulch, when available. Click here for more information. 


Wrapping the stem of young trees after transplanting is not recommended. The only real benefit to wrapping is winter protection from rodents. Areas that have vole or rabbit problems can wrap tree trunks with plastic drain tile. If wrapping is used for this purpose, it should be in place only during the dormant season. The City may wrap your tree for the first dormant seasons, but after that it would be your responsibility.

Staking and Guying 

Staking and guying are sometimes required for trees with small dimensional trunks. If necessary, it is recommended for trees located in congested or vandal prone areas or for trees planted on exposed, windswept sites.  For trees with a trunk diameter of less than 3 inches, drive 2 or 3 stakes into the ground along side of the tree (make sure it is not to close to cause rot damage and is outside the planting hole). To prevent bark injury, cloth webbing or a cloth strip (approximately 2 - 4" wide) should always be used to attach the tree to the stake. No wire or course, abrasive cord should be used anywhere near the trunk.


You can fertilize your shade trees in early spring when the buds begin to swell, or in fall when the leaves start to change color and drop. Don't apply fertilizer during the summer. Summer fertilization can stimulate heavy growth late in the growing season, making it prone to winter damage. In general, commercial fertilizers with high nitrogen content, such as 12-6-4, 12-8-8 and 20-10-5, are usually best. When determining appropriate amounts of fertilizer, follow label directions carefully to avoid over doing it. Distribute the appropriate amount of fertilizer evenly over the entire feeder root area. As a rule, it is recommended that your new trees not be fertilized during the first year.


Pruning, more specifically proper pruning, can help your landscape trees and shrubs be healthier, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing. Pruning is more than just "cutting when the blade is sharp."

Proper pruning is done to accomplish something -

  • It may be done to raise the tree out of the way of humans or equipment and to prevent branches from being broken off by vandals.
  • It is done to reduce heavy loads on branches and prevent breakage.
  • It is done to reduce dead or diseased wood in the tree, eliminating a possible risk and contributing to a healthier tree.
  • It can be done to create a "masterpiece" in your yard.

There are many other reasons to properly prune trees and shrubs. If you are unsure or need some instruction, consult the City Forester, a local nursery, a tree or landscape professional or the Internet. At the city of De Pere, we prune for many reasons, but the one reason that is most important is reducing risk. We will prune to raise trees over the road, sidewalk and yard. We also try to reduce deadwood in our trees. When we plant new trees, you'll notice that we only remove broken or dead branches and occasionally a multi-leader stem. This is the only thing needed for new trees. As the trees grow older, we may prune them to "train" them. This means trying to get them to grow with better structure. As in the past, we will identify areas of concern and schedule them or you can request the pruning of your city street trees.

The City of De Pere will not "top" trees in the parkway or on any other property and it is likewise not advised that any other individual or company partake in such a practice. Topping a tree causes severe internal damage that cannot be reversed. This practice is extremely detrimental to all trees and does not follow the natural growth habits of the plants.

Arboricultural Specifications Manual

Our Tree Care Manual, which was approved by the City Council in November 2005, helps the City of De Pere to manage and maintain all trees located upon City grounds. It also serves as a guide to homeowners and professionals alike. This manual contains our updated Tree Planting and Tree Work applications and permits. You can print either of these applications and call the City Forester if you would like to perform any work with trees in the City ROW.

Tree Preservation Standards

The following guide is intended to help homeowners when building or remodeling their homes or businesses. This Homeowner's Guide can work as a model to help you keep your valuable assets in your yard as health as possible.

Alleyway Brush Pruning

If your property abuts an alleyway, it is your responsibility to help create unimpeded travel through the area. Please prune vegetation back to at least 1 foot behind the edge of the pavement or gravel and any tree limbs to at least 10 feet above it. Un-pruned brush and trees can:

  • Create vision and safety concerns for all travelers
  • Cause property damage to vehicles that travel there
  • Hinder the ability of the De Pere Police, Fire and Street Department to effectively carry out their jobs

Please help to make the alleyways a safe and effective corridor for all who need them.

City of De Pere & Town of Ledgeview Compost Facility

This site is designed for residents to dispose of natural materials (tree limbs and branches, lawn clippings, garden waste, etc.) The compost facility also offers free mulch to individuals (landscaping companies are prohibited). Click here for information, hours and policies of the Compost Facility.