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Forest & Fruit Tree Exemption

by Jonathan Bailey last modified 2013-08-21 09:22 AM

Any person who establishes a forest or fruit-tree reservation as provided in Iowa Code Chapter 427C shall be entitled to the tax exemption as provided by law.


On any tract of land in the state of Iowa, the owner or owners may select a permanent forest reservation or reservations, each not less than two acres in continuous area, or a fruit-tree reservation or reservations, not less than one nor more than ten acres in total area, or both, and upon compliance with the provisions of this chapter, such owner or owners shall be entitled to the benefits provided by law.

Forest reservation.

A forest reservation shall contain not less than two hundred growing forest trees on each acre. If the area selected is a forest containing the required number of growing forest trees, it shall be accepted as a forest reservation under this chapter provided application is made or on file on or before April 15 of the exemption year. If any buildings are standing on an area selected as a forest reservation under this section or a fruit-tree reservation under section 427C.7 one acre of that area shall be excluded from the tax exemption. However, the exclusion of that acre shall not affect the area's meeting the acreage requirement of section 427C.2.

Removal of trees.

Not more than one-fifth of the total number of trees in any forest reservation may be removed in any one year, excepting in cases where the trees die naturally.

Forest trees.

The ash, black cherry, black walnut, butternut, catalpa, coffee tree, the elms, hackberry, the hickories, honey locust, Norway and Carolina poplars, mulberry, the oaks, sugar maple, cottonwood, soft maple, osage orange, basswood, black locust, European larch and other coniferous trees, and all other forest trees introduced into the state for experimental purposes, shall be considered forest trees within the meaning of this chapter. In forest reservations which are artificial groves, the willows, box elder, and other poplars shall be included among forest trees for the purposes of this chapter when they are used as protecting borders not exceeding two rows in width around a forest reservation, or when they are used as nurse trees for forest trees in such forest reservation, the number of such nurse trees not to exceed one hundred on each acre; provided that only box elder shall be used as nurse trees.


The trees of a forest reservation shall be in groves not less than four rods wide except when the trees are growing or are planted in or along a gully or ditch to control erosion in which case any width will qualify provided the area meets the size requirement of two acres.

Fruit-tree reservation—duration of exemption.

A fruit-tree reservation shall contain on each acre, at least forty apple trees, or seventy other fruit trees, growing under proper care and annually pruned and sprayed. A reservation may be claimed as a fruit-tree reservation, under this chapter, for a period of eight years after planting provided application is made or on file on or before February 1st of the exemption year.

Fruit trees.

The cultivated varieties of apples, crabs, plums, cherries, peaches, and pears shall be considered fruit trees within the meaning of this chapter.

Replacing trees.

When any tree or trees on a fruit-tree or forest reservation shall be removed or die, the owner or owners of such reservation shall, within one year, plant and care for other fruit or forest trees, in order that the number of such trees may not fall below that required by this chapter.

Restraint of livestock and limitation on use.

Cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, ostriches, rheas, emus, and swine shall not be permitted upon a fruit-tree or forest reservation. Fruit-tree and forest reservations shall not be used for economic gain other than the gain from raising fruit or forest trees.


If the owner or owners of a fruit-tree or forest reservation violate any provision of this chapter within the two years preceding the making of an assessment, the assessor shall not list any tract belonging to such owner or owners, as a reservation within the meaning of this chapter, for the ensuing two years.

See Code of Iowa Chapter 427C.

You must come to the Assessors office to apply for this exemption or click on Forest & Fruit Tree Exemption for the Application.

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