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Tree Information

City of Tampa named a World Leader in Urban Tree Canopy Source: MIT Sensable City Lab

Trees are a valuable resource to the City of Tampa – they clean the air, absorb stormwater, reduce temperatures, and improve your property value – because of this, they are protected by local laws under section 27-284 of the city code. Before doing any work on or around trees please use the below links to ensure you are in compliance with local regulations. 

Why do we protect trees? 

Trees are a vital part of the ecosystem and provide needed shade and other environmental benefits, such as cleaning the air, conserving soil and water, moderating temperatures, and bringing nature into our daily lives. The City of Tampa's regulations are designed to protect and enhance the trees that make up the Urban Forest. 

Tree FAQs

The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation, Forestry, prunes street trees to:

  • Provide adequate clearance over the street and the sidewalk. This includes being sure that emergency vehicles can respond to your neighborhood without damage. 
  • Remove deadwood greater than 2 inches in diameter. 
  • Provide clearance for stop signs, stop lights, streetlights, and buildings. 

For further information on Right of Way Permit please call (813) 274-5744 

To request the trimming and/or removal of trees within medians, City owned empty lots and alleys contact Neighborhood Enhancement. For further information please contact the Neighborhood Enhancement Division at (813) 274-5545 

To request trimming or report trees on overhead power lines, please contact Tampa Electric (TECO) Line Clearance office at (813) 223-0800 or (813) 228-1111

The urban forest provides a wealth of benefits to neighborhoods and residents through the reduction of energy consumption, the removal of pollutants from the air and water, reduction in stormwater flows, increased valuation of private property, increased worker productivity, reduction in stress and violent crime, as well as providing recreational opportunities and aesthetic diversity. The Natural Resources Planning Department fosters scientific-based studies to maximize the beneficial interactions between citizens and nature. For further information on Natural Resources Planning please visit their website  or contact Senior Forester Brian Knox at (813) 274-3187 or brian.knox@tampagov.net

To create a sustainable and diverse Tampa Urban Forest and enhance Tampa’s tree canopy, the Preferred Tree List provides a list of trees suitable to the City of Tampa’s climate and are available in local nurseries. Trees from this preferred list will help promote and establish trees that make up the Urban Forest and support the City of Tampa’s Urban Forest Management plan’s goal of no net loss of canopy.

If the tree is 24” or greater in DBH, then you must first obtain a permit. All tree pruning permits will be inspected by a Forester from Natural Resources prior to release. Alternatively, you can hire a City of Tampa Self-Certified Private Arborist to perform the inspection and submit their report, to be reviewed by Natural Resources.  

To apply for a permit, go to the Accela website.

Useful Guides:

For further information on permitting application please call Construction Services Division phone (813) 274-3100 Option 4, or email treequestions@tampagov.net

Use this service to request information about removing trees or determination of exempt tree species allowed to be removed without permission. Examples of protected trees include Oaks, Pines, Elms, etc. which is greater than 5” in diameter at 4.5’ from ground level.  

To apply for a permit, go to the Accela website.

Useful Guides:

For further information on permitting application please call Construction Services Division phone (813) 274-3100 Option 4, or email treequestions@tampagov.net

City’s Updated Interpretation of the Tree Removal Statutory Exemption, Fla. Stat. Sec. 163.045

The following requirements must be met in order for a property owner to utilize the F.S. § 163.045 to be exempt from the City of Tampa’s tree removal permitting requirements:

  • The property owner must possess “documentation” at the time of removal: “documentation” means an onsite assessment performed in accordance with the tree risk assessment procedures outlined in Best Management Practices – Tree Risk Assessment, Second Edition (2017) by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or a Florida licensed landscape architect and signed by the certified arborist or licensed landscape architect; and
  • The documentation must establish that the tree poses an “unacceptable risk” to persons or property: A tree poses an “unacceptable risk” if removal is the only means of practically mitigating its risk below moderate, as determined by the tree risk assessment procedures outlined in Best Management Practices – Tree Risk Assessment, Second Edition (2017); and
  • The tree is located on “residential property”: Residential property is limited to a single-family, detached building located on a lot that is actively used for single-family purposes and that is either a conforming use or a legally recognized nonconforming use.

If all of the above requirements are met, F.S. § 163.045 prohibits the City from requiring notice or a permit to prune, trim, or remove a tree. 

For more information please see City’s Updated Interpretation of the Tree Removal Statutory Exemption, Fla. Stat. Sec. 163.045

No person shall cut down, remove, relocate, damage, destroy, or in any manner abuse any protected tree in the city, until such work is authorized by a permit issued by the Development & Growth Management Department. Removal of a protected tree without a permit is an irreparable or irreversible violation which can be subject to fines.  

To file a complaint of unpermitted removal please go to the following form: https://www.tampa.gov/form/reporting-tree-removal-violation or contact our Tree Hotline at (813) 258-8733

Initiated in October 2022, the city has successfully concluded the Self-Certified Private Arborist Pilot Program as of November 2023. In accordance with the City of Tampa’s goals to assist in streamlining the development process, and the goals of the Urban Forestry Management Plan adopted by City Council to foster public/private partnerships, the City of Tampa is expanding comprehensive code training of Chapter 27 Tree and Landscape code to all ISA Certified Arborists. 

 

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