Tree City USA Standards

A Tree Care Ordinance

2) A Tree Care Ordinance

A basic public tree care ordinance forms the foundation of a city’s tree care program. It provides an opportunity to set good policy and back it with the force of law when necessary.

A key section of a qualifying ordinance is one that establishes the tree board or forestry department—or both—and gives one of them the responsibility for public tree care (see Standard 1). It should also assign the task of crafting and implementing a plan of work or for documenting annual tree care activities (see Standard 3).

Ideally, the ordinance will also provide clear guidance for planting, maintaining and removing trees from streets, parks and other public spaces, as well as activities that are required or prohibited. Beyond that, the ordinance should be flexible enough to fit the needs and circumstances of the particular community.

For tips and a checklist of important items to consider in writing or improving a tree ordinance, see Tree City USA Bulletin #9.

The Four Standards of Tree City USA

  1. A Tree Board or Department
  2. A Tree Care Ordinance
  3. A Community Forestry Program With an Annual Budget of at Least $2 Per Capita
  4. An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation
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Tree City USA is an Arbor Day Foundation program in cooperation with:
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