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Landscape Design Principles for Densely Wooded Areas Woodlot Design Principles

Fall LeavesThe Woodlot Design Principle is intended as a planting option to reinforce the scenic amenity represented by existing natural landforms and vegetation with the introduction of a mixture of plant materials designed to harmonize with the natural character of the site. This option can be utilized in required open space, greenbelts, front and side yard landscapes and any required landscaped areas other than parking lots. The plots shall be located away from vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The plan should be shown at minimum scale of 1”=20’-0” and shall be submitted with landscape plans.

The intent of the option is to protect, create and/or enhance the natural woodland landscape found in lower Michigan and particularly in Farmington Hills. The woodlands are described primarily as Oak-Hickory and Maple-Beech forests. Other tree species that are associated with these forests are Ash, Elm, Sweetgum, Poplar, Walnut, Wild Cherry, Sycamore and Dogwood (refer to the Plant Materials list below for the suggested plant material).

  1. Plant Material Size, Spacing and Condition
    1. Woodlot plot size shall be minimum 500 square feet. Width shall be minimum eight (8’) feet.
    2. Deciduous trees shall be minimum one (1”) inch caliper and shall contain a mixture of sizes based on the following percentage chart:
      Size Group % of DBH
      To Be Replaced
      Condition Maximum
      1" – 1 1/2" cal. 55% Bare Root* Max. 5' O.C.
      1½” – 2½” cal. 30% Bare Root* or Ball
      and Burlap
      Max. 10’ O.C.
      2½” – 3” cal. 15% Ball and Burlap Max. 20’ O.C.

      Evergreen trees can be incorporated into the woodlot where appropriate to the site and shall be a minimum four (4’) foot height spaced a minimum ten (10’) O.C. but shall not be more than 10 percent of the plot.

      Alternate spacing options can be utilized with the approval of the Planning Commission.

      NOTE: Bare root trees shall be planted only in the early spring, no later than June 1.

    3. Shrub planting is to follow the minimum guidelines as established in Zoning Chapter 34-
    4. Ground cover shall be established per American Society of Nurseryman Standards and be hardy in shade conditions. Turf and lawns will not be accepted as ground cover.


  2. Protection and Maintenance
    1. Staking and wrapping of trees shall be provided for all trees two (2”) inches caliper or greater. Smaller caliper trees shall be staked and wrapped as necessary and as approved by the Planning Office.
    2. The woodlot plot shall be distinguished and protected from the surrounding area and activity by the use of snow fencing or ribbon, as approved by the Planning Office, until the woodlot is established.
    3. The woodlot plantings shall be maintained in a healthy growing condition. All plant material that dies or is not healthy, shall be replaced by the beginning of the next growing season as directed by the Planning Office.

Recommended Plant Materials List for Woodlot Creation/Rehabilitation


Populus deltoides Eastern Cottonwood
Juglans cenera Butternut
Juglands nigra Black Walnut
Carya coridformis Bitternut Hickory
Carya ovata Shagbark Hickory
Fagus grandifolia American Beech
Quercus rubra Northern Red Oak
Q. palustris Pin Oak
Q. alba White Oak
Q. macrocarpa Bur Oak
Q. velutina Black Oak
Q. bicolor Swamp White Oak
Ulmus americana American Elm
U. thormasii Rock Elm
U. rubra Slippery Elm
Plantanus occidentalis Sycamore
Acer pensylvanicum Striped Maple
A saccharum Sugar Maple
A. nigrum Black Maple
A. negundo Box Elder
A. saccharinum Silver Maple
A rubum Red Maple
A. platanoides Norway Maple
Nyssa Sylvatica Black Gum
Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood
Tilia americana American Basswood
Fraxinus americana White Ash
F. nigra Black Ash
Populus alba White Poplar
Liriodendron tulipifera Tulip Tree
Pinus strobus White Pine


Lindera benzoin Spice Bush
Hamamelis spp. Witch Hazel
Lonicera spp. Honeysuckle
Viburnum spp
Cornus spp.
 Dogwood (red osier,
yellow twig and grey)
Celastrus scandens American Bittersweet
Rhus spp. Sumac
Celtis occidentalis hackberry
Ilex glabra Inkberry
Ilex verticillata Winterberry, Wild Raspberry

Vine, Groundcovers and Herbaceous Perennials:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia Creeper
Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Solidago houghtonii Trillium
Cypripedium spp. Goldenrod
Lilium michiganense Lady Slipper
Sarguinaria canadensis Michigan Lily
Aster Bloodroot
Trillium grandiflorum


Example for Figuring Number of Trees

Proponent has 250 inches of trees that must be replaced per Zoning Ordinance 34-5.10., Tree Protection, Removal and Replacement. The proponent wants to replace 40” using the Landscape Design Principles for Densely Wooded Areas. The number of trees needed to fulfill the intent of this design principle is calculated as follows:

Size % of DBH *Total DBH to be
Total # of
1” – 1½” caliper 55% 40” 22” 22
1½” – 2” caliper 30% 40” 12” 6
2½” – 3” caliper 15% 40” 6” 2
Total       30