The city of Clearwater has been named a Tree City USA for 30 years in a row. This designation is given by the National Arbor Day foundation in honor of Clearwater’s commitment to community forestry. Trees are valuable to our community in so many ways. They help improve water quality and decrease flooding from stormwater runoff, lower city temperatures, reduce air pollution, help conserve energy, provide wildlife habitat and enhance property values and community aesthetics.
Due to the benefits derived from a healthy tree canopy, the Clearwater Community Development Code establishes tree protection standards that promote the preservation of and expansion of tree canopies. The city requires a certain number of trees and a variety of tree species to be maintained on a site to achieve these goals. A permit is required to remove any protected tree, which is any nonhazardous tree four inches DBH (diameter breast height) or greater or any palm with a 10 foot clearance and straight trunk.
The city of Clearwater encourages residential tree replacement. The city offers suggestions on the best practices to plant trees and recommends trees that are most suitable for this climate and area.
Please note that commercial, multi-family, and all other non-residential properties may be subject to the requirements of approved landscape plans, development orders, larger tree sizes and other specifications different from the ones listed here.
Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place
Think about how large a tree will grow and make sure where you plant a tree can accommodate the full grown tree. Prevent future tree problems! Plant shade trees a minimum of five-ten feet away from driveways, houses, property lines, and overhead wires. Some trees spread very wide (live oaks) and some trees are very tall and columnar (bald cypress). Some are very salt tolerant and are a great choice on the beach (sea grapes, silver buttonwood) and some like wet areas (magnolia, red maple, bald cypress). Find the right tree for your location. Required replacement trees may NOT be planted in the public right-of-way. This is the green area typically between the sidewalk and edge of the road. To learn more about different trees visit: floridayards.org/fyplants. For more information on tree care visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) webpage for tree owners: treesaregood.org/treeowner/treeownerinformation.aspx
The species in this list are not the only species that are acceptable, rather these are the species that are most readily found and recommended as suitable trees. Citrus species and those trees listed on the Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council List may not be used as a replacement tree. All trees must be Florida Grade Number One or better.
Shade trees have a mature height of over 35 feet. Native trees are strongly recommended. Trees must be 8 feet in height and 2 inch caliper at time of planting.
- Magnolias (Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora and cultivars)
- Pines (Longleaf Pine, Pinus palustris and Slash Pine, Pinus elliottii)
- Oaks (Live Oak, Quercus virginnian and Shumard Oak, Quercus shumardii)
- Elms (Winged elm, Ulmus alata and Drake elm, Ulmus parvifolia)
- Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum
- Sugarberry, Celtis laevigata
- Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
- Red Maple, Acer rubrum
Accent trees have a mature height of over 15 feet. Native trees are strongly recommended. Two accents may be used to replace one native shade tree. Trees must be 6 feet in height and 1 inch in caliper at time of planting.
- Hollies (Yaupon, Ilex vmoitoria and Eagleston, Ilex attenuate and Dahoon, Ilex cassine)
- Buttonwood (Buttonwood (green leaves) Conocarpus erectus and Silver buttonwood (silver leaves) Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus)
- Wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera
- Sea grapes, Coccoloba uvifera
- Ligustrum, Ligustrum japonicum
- Tabebuia, Tabebuia cassinoides
- Simpson stopper, Myrcianthes fragrens
- Crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica
Three palms may be used to replace one native shade tree. Palms must have 10 feet of clear trunk at time of planting.
- Sabal palmetto - Sabal palm
- Acoelorrhaphe wrightii – paurotis palm
- Phoenix species (reclinata, canariensis) are considered specimen palms and are equal to one shade tree.
The City of Clearwater is a TREE CITY USA and gives trees to homeowners every Arbor Day. Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April. Tree giveaways are often on the following Saturday morning.
If you have additional questions, please call (727) 562-4746.