Landscape and Trees

Dolly McNutt Memorial PlazaPaducah Treecare and Vegetation Control

City of Paducah Code of Ordinances Chapter 118 regulates and controls planting of trees and shrubbery, encourages the protection of existing trees in the streets and public grounds within the City, and establishes procedures and practices for fulfilling these purposes. 

Business Licenses

How do you find out if a business is licensed to operate in the City?  Contact the Revenue Division of the City Finance Department at 270-444-8513.  These dedicated individuals help people discern the safety of operators and businesses locally, a huge bonus when you are in the midst of renovations and repairs, or even looking for a legitimate lawncare or treecare business.  

Tree Advisory Board

Paducah has a Tree Advisory Board.  The Board promotes urban forestry, reviews requests for permits for any planting, removal, and/or trimming or cutting of trees in any public area, and advises appropriate municipal agencies on matters of care, preservation, planting, removal, replacement, or disposition of trees in parks, along streets, and in public areas as needed.  For more information about tree selection and care, contact the Engineering Department at 270-444-8511.  

Civic Beautification Board 

The Civic Beautification Board (CBB) was officially established by City ordinance in July 1960.  The CBB has the mission of creating a more pleasing environment within our community through the instigation, association, cooperation, and coordination of individuals, organizations, businesses, and government on local, state, and national levels.  

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are landscaped areas around your home planted with wild flowers and other native vegetation that soak up rain water.  The rain water is mainly from impervious surfaces such as the roof of your home or other building.  The purpose of the rain garden is for a few inches of water to fill the garden after a storm and then the water will slowly filter into the ground.  Without the rain garden, the water would quickly run off to a ditch or storm drain.  The rain garden allows more water to soak into the ground.  Other benefits include reducing stormwater runoff, filtering of rain water of pollutants before it enters the ground, enhancing the beauty of yards and neighborhoods, and providing a habitat for birds, butterflies, and insects. 

The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government and associated businesses and organizations have developed materials for homeowners to use to build a rain garden, and they have graciously provided those materials to the City of Paducah.  Click Rain Garden Brochure for a brief overview of rain gardens.  Click Rain Garden Manual for a 12-page document (5MB) with how-to instructions. 

Tree Resources

Resources

Your local nursery, tree care professional, or Cooperative Extension office will help determine which variety of trees works best for your specific site. 

International Society of Arboriculture - General tree and certified arborist information
Kentucky Arborists Association - Kentucky's tree care industry
Kentucky Division of Forestry - General tree information
McCracken County Cooperative Extension Office - Horticulture and other information

Selecting a Tree Care Service 

  • Ask for City business license and verify with the City of Paducah Finance Department.
  • Get at least three companies to give estimates.
  • Have the tree company give you a written statement of the work to be performed and the cost.
  • Ask for references and check them.
  • Ask for proof of insurance and check with the insurance company for recent claims.
  • Before work begins, re-verify the cost.  If changes are made, get the changes in writing.  If you feel you are being mistreated, stop the work and/or get another bid.
  • Take pictures of the area before work begins and other areas of your property that could be affected.  If there are problems, you have a reference.
  • After work begins and you feel there are safety issues or the work is not being done in accordance to the work contract, contact the company owner or supervisor.  Take pictures, if necessary, and supply copies to the company.  If this does not yield results, then contact the Kentucky State Department of Occupational Safety.
  • Make sure the tree service understands they are responsible for the removal of tree debris and clean up.  If a tree service leaves debris for the City to remove, the City will charge the homeowner.
  • Never pay for services until the work has been performed and you are satisfied with the work according to written estimates and agreements.
  • Be understanding of the weather and how it may affect the tree service company's workload.
  • If you are unsatisfied with the company's work, let the company know verbally and in writing explaining the deficiencies and acceptable fixes.
  • Other avenues to settle a dispute are through a tree company's insurance company, the Better Business Bureau, or the court system and arbitration.

Proper Planting Tips

Trees and shrubs enhance the aesthetic, environmental, and economic value of your property.  Trees insulate your home and block wind during the cool nights, and they shade your doors and windows during the warm days.  You can save up to one-third off your energy bill with proper tree and shrub placement.  For more information about which trees and shrubs would work best for your conditions, visit www.treesaregood.org, your local Cooperative Extension Service Office, the Paducah Tree Advisory Board, or a certified professional landscape contractor.  Below are some helpful hints for a successful planting program.

  • Choose the right plant for the purpose you have in mind and the space you have--for shade in your lawn, choose a larger tree that is also sturdy.  To increase aesthetic value, look for a graceful form, showy foliage, or flowers.  Make sure the plant won't outgrow the site to reduce future care and excessive pruning.
  • Don't plant large trees near power lines, sewer, or water lines--look up, down, and next door to see if there are any conflicts that should be addressed before selecting a tree or shrub.  Make sure it won't cross over to your neighbor's area, or they may trim it and ruin its shape or function.
  • Avoid weak-wooded, fast growing trees--trees such as Bradford pear, silver maple, Lombardy poplar, and Siberian elm are susceptible to wind and ice damage.
  • Pick the right plant for the environmental conditions--does the plant prefer shade, like a dogwood, but you have full sun?  Consider an alternative with a Shasta viburnum which blooms at the same time and looks like a dogwood from a distance.
  • Plant your tree correctly--dig a hole that is at least three times as wide as the container or root ball to loosen the soil for the plant's roots to expand and grow.  Use natural soil to plant trees, so the roots can adapt to their new environment.  Do not add soil amendments or fertilizer at planting.
  • Help your landscape survive--water deeply twice a week during the growing season.  However, don't overwater.  Add mulch to within two inches of the base of the tree or shrub to control weeds, conserve moisture, and insulate from heat and cold.  As the mulch breaks down, it will add nutrients to the root zone while it protects your trees and shrubs from mowers and trimmers.

Protecting Trees from Winter Salt Damage

The winter season often brings heavy snowfall and/or ice.  Salt is great for clearing roads, driveways, and sidewalks of ice and snow; however, salt can be dangerous for your trees, according to the tree experts at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).  Excessive exposure to salt can cause widespread damage to your trees, leading to permanent decline and sometimes death.  The problem with salt damage is that it might not show up on your trees until summer, when deicing salt is the last culprit you would expect.

To minimize the damage done to trees by deicing salts, certified arborists at ISA offer the following tips:  

  • Use less salt.  Mix deicing salt with abrasives such as sand, cinders, and ash, or use alternatives such as calcium magnesium acetate and calcium chloride.
  • Protect your trees from salt trucks on the street.  If possible, set up barriers between the street and your trees to keep salt spray from hitting tree trunks.
  • Plant salt-resistant trees.  Trees such as sycamore maple, white spruce, willow, and birch tend to be more salt-resistant than other species.  How well they fare varies from climate to climate across the country.
  • Improve soil drainage.  Add organic matter to your soil to help filter salt deposits.
  • Irrigate to flush the salts from the soils in spring.
  • Mulch sufficiently to reduce water loss.
  • Control pest infestations and destructive tree diseases. 

Know Your Trees Before Planting

Not all trees are created equal.  Just because a species of tree is native to the area doesn't mean that all varieties or cultivars of that species will work in your specific landscape location.  Before planting a tree, do your homework. 

Example - White Birches.  White birches cannot be planted in dry, hot sites, or they will be stressed and prone to bronze birch borers, a flying insect, which, in its larval stage, can kill a tree.  Plant a different variety such as river birches in that location since they are not as susceptible to those insects.

Example - Bradford Pear.  The ornamental Bradford pear tree has beautiful blooms in the spring, glossy lush leaves in the summer, brilliant fall foliage, and a wonderfully tight branch structure in the winter.  However, most Bradford species have brittle wood and poor branch connections.  The tree typically lasts only 12-20 years before being severely damaged or destroyed in ice or windstorms.  The Bradford cultivar Chanticleer, also known as Cleveland Select, doesn't suffer from the poor branch connections.