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In Your Yard
Celebrate Trees in the Yard
Have some green space around your home or business? Consider planting a tree to honor a special person or event in your life. You will help the environment, beautify your yard and have a lasting remembrance that grows year after year!

Tree Planting & Care
In Norfolk, the ideal time to plant a tree is between October 15 and March 31. During these months, weather conditions are cool and allow for root establishment before spring rains and summer sun promote top growth. However, you may plant a tree at anytime, provided you are attentive to its care, particularly watering.

The city does not prune trees around overhead utility lines, such as those for Dominion Power, Cox Communications, etc. This is the responsibility of the utility company whose lines are within that overhead easement. Dominion prunes trees on a an approximate 3 year cycle, and the communications companies only prune when there is a current disruption in the transmission of their data.
Citizens concerned about tree limbs near overhead power lines should contact Dominion Power at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

Detailed instructions for planting, pruning and other tree care topics are set forth by the International Society of Arboriculture.

For individuals and businesses lacking space to plant a tree, donating to the Living Legacy Grove fund is a great way to give back to your community and help the environment. A personalized recognition certificate from the City of Norfolk suitable for framing or scrapbooking is provided to all donors.

Migratory Birds Nesting in Trees
  • Migratory birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  Established to protect and restore populations driven nearly to extinction in some areas, the act remains in effect today.
  • Residents are reminded that Norfolk is surrounded by water and migratory birds are a part of our environment.  It should also be noted that we expect to see more birds and other wildlife in Norfolk due to the good work that is improving the quality of water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • Unless there is an immediate or significant risk to public safety, we do not prune or remove trees while nests are occupied.
  • Migratory birds such as herons and egrets return to the same trees or groups of trees each season.  Due to the nesting habits of these birds we would not prune or remove trees just for the reason of a nesting bird as this would present a domino effect of moving the problem along to other neighbors while of course removing valuable urban forest canopy. 
  • While it is not standard practice, we may remove unoccupied nests while performing scheduled pruning for safety reasons (deadwood and/or structural issue).  Residents are informed that removing nests does not discourage birds from nesting in their preferred tree or area the following year.
  • While migratory water fowl droppings may be considered a nuisance, they are not considered a public safety or public health issue.  Residents would have to petition the Health Department.
  • We also inform citizens that it is lawful to haze migratory birds with noise or water as they are return to build their nest, but as soon as there are eggs and/or active nesting occurring these activities must cease according to Federal law.  These hazing methods will have various levels of success.
  • As for removing nuisance bird droppings from City streets, street sweeping is performed on city streets monthly.  Public works goal is to hit both sides of each street 12 times a year depending on weather events.  Street sweepers are engineered to brush and sweep the full street using minimal spraying of water, and are not designed to concentrate on single area of staining.  Due to the full schedule of keeping all of Norfolk’s streets clean it is not feasible for Public Works to redirect their street sweepers for nuisance street staining from bird droppings.

Note to Homeowners

Always call Miss Utility before digging, so that utilities such as underground water, sewer and telephone may be marked for damage prevention. Dial 811 or 1-800-552-7001 at least three working days before beginning any digging project.

Recommended Trees for Norfolk
  • Small Ornamental Trees (less than 30 feet)
    • American Smoketree - Cotinus obovatus (native)
    • Dogwood - Cornus florida (native)
    • Eastern Redbud - Cercis canadensis (native)
    • Fringe Tree - Chionanthus virginicus (native)
    • Prariefire Flowering Crabapple - Malus 'Prairiefire' (native)
    • Sweetbay Magnolia - Magnolia virginiana (native)
    • Witchhazel - Hamamelis virginiana (native)
  • Medium to Large Trees (40 to 100 feet)
    • American Elm - Ulmus americana 'Princeton' or 'Valley Forge' (native) 
    • American Persimmon - Diospyros virginiana (native) 
    • Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum (native) 
    • Black Gum - Nyssa sylvatica (native) 
    • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra (native) 
    • Overcup Oak - Quercus lyrata (native) 
    • Pond Cypress - Taxodium ascendens (native) 
    • Sourwood - Oxydendron arboreum (native) 
    • Southern Live Oak - Quercus virginiana (native) 
    • Southern Red Oak - Quercus falcata (native) 
    • Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor (native) 
    • Willow Oak - Quercus phellos (native) 
    • Winged Elm - Ulmus alata (native)
  • Windbreaks or Ornamental
    • American Arborviate - Thuja occidentalis (native)
    • American Holly - Ilex opaca (native)
    • Atlantic White Cedar - Chamaecyparis thyoides (native)
    • Dwarf Palmetto - Sabal palmetto / Sabal minor (native)
    • Eastern Red Cedar - Juniperus virginiana (native)
    • Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda (native)
    • Longleaf Pine - Pinus palustris (native)
    • Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora (native)