Lee County Tree Maintenance Requirements
The conservation of existing trees and the planting of new trees on development sites is required by the Lee County Land Development Code. Both retained and new trees provide breaks in the urban landscape and offer many benefits. These benefits include: providing oxygen, conserving energy, filtering water, creating a cooling canopy, absorbing noise, reducing glare, creating areas for wildlife and increased property values.
Trees can be pruned to address visibility and safety while maintaining their structural integrity. The intent of tree maintenance is to allow required trees to grow into normal, mature landscape features and is required by Section 10-421 (c) of the Lee County Land Development Code which states:
(c) Pruning. Vegetation required by this code may only be pruned to promote healthy, uniform, natural growth of the vegetation (except where necessary to promote health, safety, and welfare) and be in accordance with "American National Standard for Tree Care Operations - Tree, Shrub, and Other Woody Plant Maintenance - Standard Practices (Pruning) (A300, Part 1)" by the American National Standard Institute, and "Best Management Practices: Tree Pruning" by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
Trees must not be severely pruned to permanently maintain growth at a reduced height or spread. Pruning must not interfere with the design intent of the original installation. Severely pruned trees must be replaced by the property owner. Replacement trees must meet the tree size requirements of LDC section 10-420. A plant's growth habit must be considered in advance of conflicts which might arise (i.e. views, signage, overhead power lines, lighting, circulation, sidewalks, buildings, and similar conflicts).
Severe Crown Pruning
and Tree Topping
Severe pruning is considered irreparable damage to trees. Citations, to both the property owner and the tree pruning contractor will be issued. If the trees are severely pruned, tree replacement will be required.
It is extremely important to plan your landscape to avoid future pruning problems. Appropriate plant selection can result in a reduced need for extensive pruning and maintenance.
To view more information on correct tree pruning, penalties for improper pruning and for examples of the most common and severe tree pruning violations in Lee County, click here.
For information regarding plant selection and tree protection contact the Lee County Division of Environmental Sciences staff. Information on landscape maintenance and plant pruning can also be obtained by contacting the Lee County - University of Florida Extension Office staff at (239) 338-3232.