Landscaping & Trees
Ordinance preserves City's Trees
In January 2021, City Council approved an update to its tree preservation and management plan. The ordinance will go into effect for all homeowners who purchase their property after June 30, 2021.
The changes came after three public meetings and a public engagement process that included more than 1,800 citizens responding to an online survey.
About the Tree Ordinance - Home Owner's Guide
Does the new tree ordinance apply to me?
If you purchase your home before June 30, 2021, the trees on your property are not subject to the new ordinance. If you purchase your home after June 30, 2021, the heritage trees on your property will be subject to the new ordinance.
What are heritage trees?
Heritage trees are trees greater than 20” that are located within buffers and setbacks on your property OR trees greater than 40” located anywhere on your property. Trees which are deemed by a certified arborist to be dead, dying, unhealthy, or pose a safety risk are exempt.
What happens if I remove a protected heritage tree?
Protected heritage trees must be replaced at a 1:1 caliper inch ratio. For example, if you cut down a healthy 24” tree, you must replant 24 inches worth of new trees (i.e., eight 3” trees, six 4” trees, etc.). If you elect not to replace the tree, you must pay a fee of $50 per caliper inch, which goes into the Greenville Tree Fund to help pay for new trees to be planted elsewhere. All heritage tree removals are assessed with a $40 per caliper inch fine in addition to the mitigation requirements.
Any tree over 6” on the site of a new commercial development must be replaced at a 1:1 caliper inch ratio or a fee of $50 per caliper inch must be paid. Fees collected from developments will be used to plant new trees in other locations, maintain the existing tree canopy or purchase undeveloped land for open space/green space.
The City's Tree Fund program (PDF) offers the general public the opportunity to pay for the planting of new trees in our community. Possible locations may include within a park, public open space, along a greenway, or adjacent to a street. If you are a resident, business owner, or property owner interested in trees being planted along your street, the planting must occur within an existing space on public property.
Through the foundation, residents can donate money to have trees planted within a park, in a public open space, along a greenway, or in the public right-of-way on their street. Learn more about the Tree Fund
Tree Pruning Guidelines
Excessive pruning, topping, crape murder are unacceptable practices and will result in the property being in violation of the City’s Code of Ordinances. Such a violation will result in the property being noncompliant and the property owner will be required to plant new trees and shrubs in accordance with the current standards of the City’s ordinance. Please review the Tree Pruning Guidelines (PDF) prior to pruning trees or contracting tree pruning services.