86.03 86.03 Trees on and adjacent to highway.
86.03(1)(1)Removal of fallen trees. If any tree falls from adjacent land into any highway, the owner or occupant of the land shall immediately remove the tree from the highway. It shall be the duty of every highway patrolman, street commissioner, or other officer in charge of the maintenance of streets or highways, to remove from any highway any fallen tree or trees therein.
86.03(2) (2) Ownership. All trees on land over which any highway is laid out shall be for the use of the owner of the land or person otherwise entitled thereto, except trees that have been acquired by and for the public in the acquisition of the highway right-of-way and except such trees within the highway as may be requisite to make or repair the highways on the land or within one mile of the same; but no trees reserved for shade or ornament, unless acquired by the public, shall be used for such purpose.
86.03(3) (3) Planting trees and shrubs in highway.
86.03(3)(a) (a) Any person owning or occupying land adjoining any highway may, with the approval of the public authority maintaining the highway, plant, cultivate and maintain trees, shrubs or hedges on the side of the highway contiguous to and within 10 feet of that person's land. Such trees, shrubs or hedges shall be cut or removed only by the owner or occupant of the abutting land or by the public authority having control of the highway.
86.03(3)(b) (b) Notwithstanding par. (a), if the person who owns or occupies the land that adjoins a highway is a town, the town may, with the approval of the public authority that maintains the highway, authorize another person to plant trees, shrubs, or hedges on the land. If the public authority maintaining the highway is a county, the town may request approval under this paragraph from the county on behalf of the person to be authorized.
86.03(4) (4) Cutting or injuring trees on highway. No person shall cut down, break, girdle, bruise the bark, or in any other manner injure, or allow any animal under that person's control to injure, any public or private trees, shrubs, or hedges growing within the highway, except as the owner thereof or the public authority maintaining the highway may cut down, trim and remove trees, shrubs, and hedges for the purpose of and conducing to the benefit and improvement of the owner's land or the highway facility, subject to sub. (7).
86.03(5) (5) Mutilation of trees. It shall be unlawful for any person to injure, mutilate, cut down, or destroy any shade tree growing on or within any street or highway in any village in this state, unless express permission to do so has been granted by the village's board of trustees.
86.03(6) (6) Fines. Except as provided in sub. (7), any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $25 for each tree or shrub damaged, felled or destroyed.
86.03(7) (7) Cutting of veterans memorial trees; penalty. No person may cut or trim any tree planted along any federal or state trunk highway as a memorial to the men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States in time of war, without the written permission of the department. Violations of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $200 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both. Nothing in this section shall interfere with the rights of abutting property owners in those trees.
2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 125 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on April 18, 2024. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 18, 2024, are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-18-24)