Dogs and Curbside Tree Box/Gardens Vol. 12

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“Dear PoPville,

I understand why people get angry when dog owners don’t clean up after their dogs. I am a dog owner and it makes me furious to see lazy people who are breaking the law. I have plastic bags stuffed in about every pocket just in case I need them.

But there also appears to be an attitude that private parties (residential and commercial) have the right to prohibit perfectly legal canine behavior in public tree boxes. I appreciate the effort to keep the tree boxes tidy but if one plants flowers and shrubbery on public property including tree boxes, they cannot expect these plants to be treated as private property. These signs are the most extreme response I have seen yet to try to try to dictate what dogs can do on public property, however, I see less permanent versions of these signs all over town.

The way I see it, if the police have an issue with it, they can issue me a fine. If you are not an officer of the law then don’t tell me what to do on public property.

On the other hand, there are specific things that are prohibited or required by law related to tree boxes according to the DDOT Public Realm Design Manual:

· Be planted a minimum of 2 feet from the root flare (crown) of the street tree in order to protect feeder and anchor roots from damage
· Wickets and other tripping hazards are strictly prohibited
· The growing of vegetables in a tree box area is prohibited
· Include plants that have a shallow root system and that grow less than 18 inches in height

I have seen many tree boxes in violation of these rules, often while sporting a ‘no dogs’ sign as well.

PS I maintain a treebox in front of my home but I use low, easily replaceable grasses and mulch rather than create a private garden.”

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