Carbondale Tree Board

The Tree Board

The Carbondale Tree Board will provide generally for the protection of trees within the Town, to ensure proper planting and maintenance of trees in the public  right-of-way and in Town parks, and to provide for the abatement of nuisance trees on public and private property.

To develop a healthy urban forest and park system of diverse tree species to protect against potential pest and disease problems.

To create a community with tree lined streets by requiring tree planting standards in new developments while upgrading and maintaining street trees in existing parks, neighborhoods and commercial or industrial areas.

Board Members

Dan Bullock, Chair
Gabe Riley, Member
Jo Anne Teeple, Member
Kim Bock, member

Frosty Merriot, Board of Trustee Liaison
Mike Callis, Town Liaison

If you have questions about the Agendas or Minutes, or if you would like to apply to become a member of the Tree Board, please fill out an application and contact Angie Sprang at

Tree Board Application

Tree Protection Standards

Carbondale Tree Ordinance

Recommended trees for the Town of Carbondale - 2015

History:  Siberian Elm, Ulmus pumila aka: Chinese elm, dwarf elm, Asiatic elm, was introduced to North America by Frank Meyer who, whilst in the employ of the USDA, made several collecting expeditions to the Far East.  The tree was initially cultivated at the USDA Experimental Station at Mandan, North Dakota, where it flourished. It was consequently selected by the USDA for planting in shelter belts across the prairies in the aftermath of the Dustbowl disasters, where its rapid growth and tolerance for drought and cold initially made it a great success. ( Credit Wikipedia ) Over the years, Siberian Elm has proven to be more of a nuisance tree than a valuable urban tree. 

Carbondale’s Problem:  Siberian Elm trees are ubiquitous in the historic part of Carbondale, and if you have lived here for any significant period, you’ve probably heard someone complain about them. They were originally chosen most likely for some of their tempting characteristics such as rapid growth, ease of care, and extreme hardiness.  While indeed they do provide us with shade and a green canopy, they also provide us with many burdens and problems that must be addressed.  Siberian Elm Ulmus pumila is widley considered to be an invasive species because of its fast growth, adaptability, and ability to grow in poor soils.  Posing as a threat to out-competing native species, it is actually listed as a noxious weed in the neighboring state of New Mexico.

Why Get Rid of them in the City?:  Beyond Siberian Elm’s negative ecological impacts, it makes for a poor street tree because it creates heavy woody litter, and its smaller branches are prone to breaking potentially causing damage.  The major solvable problem we face with our Siberian Elm Street trees is their seedlings, or as I like to call them “weedlings”, dispersed by their profuse seed production. They cause damage to foundations, driveways, roads, sidewalks, fences and other structures as they grow against and around these structures.  Siberian Elms thrive where other plants fail ( ie: in poor, dry hot soils ) and grow rapidly, expanding rapidly against anything it touches.  The real challenge in preventing damage from the Elm seedlings and saplings is that they tolerate being cut back.  Even the smallest Elm can withstand being cut completely to the ground only to grow back on a thicker stalk.  This means that weed eaters and lawn mowers are almost entirely ineffective at controlling Siberian Elm unless they are used regularly. 

What is the Town of Carbondale doing to address the problem?:  The Mature Siberian Elms that line the streets of much of old town Carbondale were planted during a different part of the town’s history before there was the knowledge about the drawbacks of planting Siberian Elm as a street tree.  The town’s approach to managing the 300 or so mature Siberian Elms on town property is to gradually phase them out.  This allows us to continue to enjoy a large street tree canopy while we continually manage the trees removing the worst trees first.  With new funding for replacing street trees as they are removed, the goal is to plant a variety of species which will eventually make up a more diverse and beneficial urban forest.    

What can I do?:  It’s important and wise to remove Elm seedlings before they cause damage to your foundation, paved surfaces, or fences.  The best way to control Siberian Elm is to “ get them while they’re young.”  The root system MUST be removed or killed otherwise it will grow back.  This is true for small seedlings all the way up to mature trees.  The BEST way to control this tree is to uproot seedlings with a diameter of ¼ inch or less.  Pulling them by hand or using some sort of weed prying device works best.  Unfortunately, once the seedling grows to about 3/8 to ½ inch in diameter the root system becomes too well-anchored to be removed mechanically.  Check out the link below for different control options:

David Coon
Town Arborist/ Horticulturist
Carbondale Public Works
(970) 510-1331 

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 Brunnier Matching Grants

 Brunnier Matching Grant Program for planting public trees in Carbondale

 With the very generous financial support of Carbondale resident Kay Brunnier, the Tree Board has created a matching grant program and will be offering discounted rates to businesses and individuals wishing to sponsor the planting of a tree on public property, such as in a park or open space or along one of our streets. The Town of Carbondale will purchase, plant and take care of the tree, and both the tree species and a suitable location will be decided on with the input of the person or business sponsoring the tree. 

There will be opportunities for trees planted in remembrance of a loved one and also the honoring of a person, family, school graduation or other special event, but anyone can sponsor the planting of a tree.
Suggestions for suitable locations in our town that would benefit by the planting of new trees are also welcomed if you have a particular place that you’d like the tree to be planted.  
Trees on private property or within the yards of homes will not normally be considered for matching funds.
Trees that are required to be planted by the terms of a development approval will not be considered for matching funds.

The Brunnier Matching Grant Program will pay 50% of the cost of planting a new tree and, where required, connecting to an existing irrigation system.   

If you are interested in sponsoring a tree to be planted in the Town of Carbondale, please contact David Coon, Town of Carbondale Arborist,



Official Website of Carbondale, Colorado