To the Georgia Tree Council’s

tree ord title

Our goals for this website are to provide you with current information and useful tools to help you build—or evaluate and rebuild—your tree ordinance.  We hope the information you find here will help you create a healthier, more functional community forest and help your community reach its tree cover and quality of life goals.

This website was designed to help people responsible for writing tree policy in Georgia to create a more effective tree ordinance, and to help everyone responsible for approving, administering, implementing, complying with, and enforcing tree ordinances.  We want you to better understand the functions and benefits of trees, the science behind tree care, the pathways available for conserving trees, the mechanisms used in regulating tree cover, and the rationale behind the various provisions commonly included in tree ordinances in Georgia.

We invite arborists, foresters, landscape architects, planners, engineers, builders, developers, city and county managers, elected officials, government employees, planning commission members, tree board members, citizens and anyone interested in their community forest to add this site to their list of important resources.  Then, visit this site regularly to further your knowledge and understanding of tree ordinances and their implementation.


Our What’s New page will lead you to current Tree Ordinance News and then to information on our Tree Ordinance of the Month, its unique features, and how it’s being implemented in the community. 

It also leads to our Focus on Tree Ordinance Issues page, which provides an outline of one of the many important issues faced by communities, businesses, and individuals involved in the process of tree regulation.  Examples of how some communities have addressed the issue are provided in an effort to broaden everyone’s perspective and knowledge.


City of Savannah Landscape and Tree Protection Ordinance

Legal Review of Your Tree Ordinance

To further broaden everyone’s basic and common understanding of tree ordinances, explanations of the purposes and general forms of the most Common Tree Ordinance Components are provided in our Understanding Tree Ordinances  pages. Here you’ll find information on the Purposes of Tree Ordinances and what they can, and cannot, do. We discuss the different Types of Tree Ordinances that are commonly found and where they fit within city and county codes. We also provide information on Assessing Outcomes of your current ordinance and discuss why Maintaining Your Tree Ordinance and making regular revisions are important for producing better results.

Then, when you’re ready to begin the building, or rebuilding process, our Building an Effective Tree Ordinance pages give you a step-by-step overview of how to go about that process.

There is a significant amount of additional information on tree ordinances that you can access through our Resources page, with links to other documents and websites that you are sure to find helpful.

Throughout the website, look for the TREE ORDINANCE TOOLBOX that points you to websites, applications, selected ordinances, sample documents, and useful information that will further help you build a better tree ordinance.


Throughout this website, in tree ordinances, and in the practice of arboriculture and urban forestry, a number of acronyms are commonly used.  A few of those more commonly used are listed below.  For definitions of these and others terms found in tree ordinances, click here to go to our definitions page.

  • BMP(s) = best management practice(s)
  • CO = certificate of occupancy
  • CRZ = critical root zone
  • DBH = diameter at breast height
  • FAQ(s) = frequently asked question(s)
  • GFC = Georgia Forestry Commission
  • GUFC = Georgia Urban Forest Council, Inc.
  • ISA = International Society of Arboriculture
  • ROW = right-of-way
  • USDA FS = United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service


Contact Us and let us know who you are, what information you can provide that we can share with our other visitors, and what feedback you have on the Tree Ordinance Construction Zone website.

We encourage you to send us your questions on tree ordinances, which we’ll reply to offline.  In our Frequently Asked Questions page we’ll provide answers to some of the common questions we receive from our website visitors.

We also encourage you to provide us with information on ordinances that you think are particularly effective, unique or innovative, and on tough issues you are facing related to tree regulation in the community where you live or work.  This information will help us build a better website for everyone.  Thank you!

A yellowwood tree (Cladrastis kentukea) in the fall in north Georgia.  Yellowwoods have spectacular hanging panicles of white flowers in the spring, flowering profusely every 3 to 5 years.  Yellowwoods are native to north Georgia and are a medium-sized street tree, suitable for open yards and wide tree lawns.