Tree FAQs

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Will the Urban Forester come out and look at my tree?
The Urban Forester generally does not evaluate trees on private property, although tree-related questions will gladly be answered over the phone. It is recommended that you hire an arborist to evaluate your trees. Read these tips on how to hire an arborist. If the tree is located on City property, which includes trees growing on street rights-of-way, in parks, and on other City properties, you can make a maintenance call to 336-373-CITY (2489).

What does the Urban Forester do?
The Urban Forester, who works in the Planning Department, implements the City's Tree Conservation Ordinance and is generally responsible for handling all planning aspects of the urban forest. More specifically, the Urban Forester:
  • Reviews development plans for compliance of the tree conservation ordinance
  • Receives and addresses complaints about public trees
  • Coordinates with other departments on tree planting and maintenance
  • Provides advice to businesses and residents about tree care
  • Supports Greensboro Beautiful Inc. and other nonprofit organizations to promote trees and enhance the urban forest
  • Educates the public through brochures developed by organizations such as National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture
  • Conducts workshops to educate residents, City employees, local tree care companies, and others
  • Applies and administers grants to help fund urban forestry projects.

Who do I call if I have a tree that needs work that is also on City property?
If the tree is on City property, which includes trees growing on street rights-of-way, in parks, and on other City properties, you may call 336-373-CITY (2489) to make a maintenance request. We will take your request and, after an inspection, we will let you know what will be done and when. The City will only remove trees that are growing on City property.

Can I get free trees from the City?
At this time, the City does not have a supply of trees available to the public.

What trees does the City work on?

We maintain trees growing on City property, including trees on street rights-of-way, in parks, and on other City properties. The City will remove trees that are growing on City property and that are hazardous or at least 50 percent or more dead. Street rights-of-way may vary, so if a tree close to the street needs attention, let us know. We will evaluate the tree and determine if it is on the right-of-way. If the tree needs work and is on the right-of-way, we will do the work at no charge to you. If the tree is not on the right-of-way, we will let you know. We cannot perform tree work on private property, so you will need to hire an arborist.

I think my tree should be cut down. Will the City do that?

Once it is confirmed that the tree is on City property, the tree will be evaluated in order to determine the status or need for removal.

I have a tree in my backyard that needs some work. Will the City do this work?
We can only work on trees that are growing on City property. For private tree work, you will need to hire an arborist.

The trees along the street have grown up into the power lines, and I'm worried about power failure. Will the City prune these limbs?
The City does not prune trees for utility line clearance. Contractors working for Duke Energy Co. perform this work. You can make a service request to Duke Energy at 800-777-9898.

Will the City plant a tree in front of my house?
At this time the City does not have a street tree planting program. The Urban Forester will review requests and determine if the site is suitable and a City right-of-way.

How often should I cut back or top my crape myrtles?
It is not necessary to cut crape myrtles on a regular basis, nor should they ever be topped. Topping this type of tree does not promotes flowering. Instead, branches that grow from these drastic cuts are weak and poorly attached to the main branches. Not only will these weak branches be easily damaged in wind and ice, but they will not be strong enough to hold up flowers during the summer and this will cause the branches to sag from the weight of flowers. The crape myrtle does not require heavy pruning to promote bloom. The tree produces flowers without any pruning, although it will produce larger flowers and bloom more profusely if at least lightly pruned.

          How to correctly prune a crape myrtle.
          Guide to pruning crape myrtles.

Vegetation and low tree limbs make it difficult to see at an intersection. Can the City help?
The City can evaluate blind corners and sight distance problems to determine the best method to improve the situation. Let us know where the intersection is and we will do our best to resolve the problem. You can make a maintenance request by calling 336-373-CITY (2489).

Can I top or remove a tree because I cannot see my business?
Please contact the Urban Forester to determine if the vegetation in question is landscaping that is required by City ordinance.

My neighbor has a dead tree that could fall onto my house. What can be done about this?
These issues are considered private property matters. The City cannot get involved.

Can the City come out and pick up the debris from a tree that I trimmed?
The City can come pick up debris, but you must follow the rules below when preparing your yard waste for collection. Contact 336-373-CITY (2489) for more information.

Can it: You can use your own metal or plastic trash can no larger than 32 gallons. Filled cans should weigh no more than 50 pounds.

Bag it: Use heavy duty clear plastic bags. Filled bags cannot be heavier than 50 pounds.

Bundle it: Tie in bundles not more than five feet long and no heavier than 50 pounds.

What is the Landscaping and Tree Conservation Ordinance?
To assist those contemplating the development of their property, a Landscaping and Tree Conservation Manual has been created to facilitate the use of the Land Development Ordinance by providing illustrations of key text requirements. The illustrations and explanations are intended to help you understand the ordinance and suggest possible design alternatives.

The ordinance only applies to commercial, retail, and multi-family development within the City and requires developers to save a portion of trees on their property. The tree conservation ordinance does not apply to new single family subdivisions or existing single family residences. Additionally, the ordinance does not apply to North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) roadway projects.

City staff enforces the tree preservation ordinance. Other organizations such as Greensboro Beautiful can be advocates and help educate residents, but do not create or enforce ordinances.