Derecho recovery: Cedar Rapids to begin tree replanting with an Arbor Day event in October

Cedar Rapids in the aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho. — Jason Smith/Little Village

The city of Cedar Rapids announced three events in the coming weeks aimed at replacing its lost tree canopy. The city lost about 65 percent of its trees after the Aug. 10 derecho.

The first is an Arbor Day celebration on Friday at Cedar River Academy at Taylor Elementary. The celebration is usually in April but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city must hold an Arbor Day tree planting within the calendar year as a requirement of Tree City USA, according to the city.

Cedar Rapids has been recognized as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation for more than 40 consecutive years, which is the longest record of any city in Iowa, according to the news release.

The event begins at 9 a.m., and four to six trees will be planted on the school site. Students will receive information about tree planting and care.

The city is also partnering with Trees Forever and Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust to hold two tree adoption events. The events are part of the city’s ReLeaf program that aims to replant the tree canopy in the city.

Residents can purchase two trees or shrubs online for $10 or $15. The trees or shrubs must be planted on the resident’s private property within one week of pick-up.

There will be two pick-up events. The first will be on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Stadium, the second Sunday, Nov. 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Noelridge Park in the pool parking lot.

Outdoor fires still prohibited

The City of Cedar Rapids is reminding residents that its ban on outdoor fires remains in effect.

The burn ban is expected to stay until at least the first round of tree debris removal has been completed, according to the city. As of Thursday morning, the city is almost 92 percent done with the first pass. Residents can check the progress in different areas on the tree debris removal map.

Fire Chief Greg Smith first announced the burn ban during a news conference on Aug. 17. The fire department is allowing liquid petroleum gas and natural gas fire pits to be used but no wood-fired recreational fires. The department wants to prevent a recreational fire turning into a large tree debris fire or brush fire.

Even though certain parts of the city no longer have piles of debris, a burn ban for certain sections “is not practical,” according to a news release. The fire department will re-evaluate after the first round of tree debris removal is completed to see if the burn ban needs to remain in place.

Loose leaf vacuum collection begins Monday

The city’s fall loose leaf vacuum collection is beginning on Monday, Oct. 19, after a two-week delay. The collection was postponed to give city crews extra time to collect tree debris following the Aug. 10 derecho.

The Solid Waste and Recycling Division is asking residents to clear their collection area of sticks and debris ahead of Monday. Sticks longer than six inches can clog vacuum equipment and cause serious damage, according to a city news release.


Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village


An updated lead collection schedule can be found online. Garbage, recycling and yard waste collection will continue as usual.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Iowa City Book Festival

Oct. 18-24

A celebration of books, writing and ideas

Find Out More


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.