Urban Forestry

Tree Preservation Requirements

City of Trees Tree canopy action plan logo

The City of Charlotte’s tree preservation requirements protect trees in public street right-of-way and on private property. City Council tree canopy policy outlined in the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan and Urban Forest Master Plan support these preservation requirements. 

Development Requirements

Tree canopy development requirements applicable within Charlotte’s city limits and extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) are located in the Unified Development Ordinance’s (UDO) Article 20. Landscape, Screening, & Tree Preservation sections 20.12-20.18. Preservation requirements apply in four areas: 1) perimeter trees, 2) internal trees, 3) green area, and 4) heritage tree preservation.  

Projects on sites having conditional zoning approved by City Council prior to the UDO effective date of June 1st, 2023 shall be required to comply with legacy tree canopy development requirements. View the Legacy Charlotte Tree Ordinance.

City Tree Preservation & Non-Development Requirements

Requirements that are not development-related are located in the current Charlotte Tree Ordinance. This ordinance protects City street trees, heritage trees, and other non-development protections.  

Heritage Trees – non-development removal permits 

Urban Forestry Group

Urban Forestry Team

The Urban Forestry Group is responsible for the administration and implementation of the City’s development and non-development tree preservation requirements. Urban Forestry’s three teams conduct plan review and inspection work in the land development permitting, heritage tree permitting, continuing compliance review, and conditional rezoning processes.

  • Commercial and Subdivision Team

Plan review and inspection work related to commercial, single-family subdivision, and non-residential in-fill development.

  • Residential Team

Plan review and inspection work related to in-fill development of single-family and duplex buildings on single lots.

  • Preservation Team

Enforcement and inspection work ensuring developed sites maintain long-term compliance with tree preservation requirements. Manages non-development heritage tree permitting process and ordinance violation issues on developed sites.

Urban Forestry Staff Contact List

Urban Forestry Area Map - visit Charlotte Explorer, click appropriate Urban Forestry Team layer, and project location for contact info. 

City of Trees - Canopy Care Certification *UNDER DEVELOPMENT*

The City of Charlotte will implement a credentialling program to certify tree care companies and landscape contractors as Canopy Care Certified. This certification will provide training for contractors relative to all tree preservation requirements impacting trees in the Charlotte community. The goal of this program is to raise awareness and understanding on the benefits of trees in Charlotte, and the regulations in place to protect Charlotte’s tree canopy. A list of all Canopy Care Certified contractors will be available on this website for residents and property owners.