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City of Tampa Launching Tree Education Campaign

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Tree Removal Statutory Exemption


Reaching Homeowners,Tree-Trimming Business on Tree Removal, Trimming


In an effort to protect its valuable tree canopy, the City of Tampa is working to reach homeowners and tree-trimming businesses with a new education campaign, detailing when it is appropriate to trim or remove trees from residential properties under City and State law. This comes after City leaders recently updated tree removal rules, superseding a prior statute from 2019. 

Now, residents across Florida need to meet certain requirements to remove trees on their properties, including: 

The tree is located on “residential property” 

A certified arborist or Florida-Licensed landscape architect must perform an on-site assessment of the tree. That documentation must be signed by them and available at the time of the tree removal. 

The documentation must show that the tree poses an “unacceptable risk” to persons or property 

To avoid a violation notice, property owners should provide documentation to the City of Tampa’s Development and Growth Management Department, showing a certified arborist or a Florida-licensed landscape architect signed off. That way, the City of Tampa can determine whether the tree removal qualifies under the Statutory Exemption. 

If the documentation does not include both an onsite assessment and a signature from a certified arborist or licensed landscape architect, then the tree may not qualify for removal under the Statutory Exemption and a notice of violation may be issued.  Whether or not a property is in violation is up to a special magistrate, and any fines associated with such removal would also be determined by them. 

The City will continue to report to the ISA or the Department of Professional Regulation, as appropriate, if the City finds that documentation is used by a certified arborist or licensed landscape architect to remove tree(s) in violation of the Statutory Exemption. 

“Tampa has one of the most extensive tree canopies in the country,” said Stephen Benson, Director of City Planning. “As our city continues to grow and change, our goal is to save as many trees as possible. To do so, we need homeowners and businesses to understand the state and local rules and why trees are important to our community. Trees not only provide us with a connection to nature, they provide priceless shade, keep our air clean, and create a greener future for generations to come.”

To report an unpermitted tree removal, please click here or contact the City of Tampa Tree Hotline at (813) 258-8733. 

The City of Tampa is proudly working in partnership with the Tampa Homeowners Association of Neighborhoods (THAN) as well as the Tampa Tree Advocacy Group (T-TAG) to educate homeowners on the requirements of the law, as well as the penalties for tree removal without proper documentation.

Changes made to the City of Tampa’s tree ordinance follow the Florida Legislature passing Senate Bill 518, effective July 1, 2022. 


“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. 

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); 

Natalia Verdina
Development & Economic Opportunity
c: 813-624-5625 / e: Natalia.Verdina@tampagov.net