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Tree Ordinance Central

Resources and Guides

  •           Tree Ordinance Development Guides  
  •           Conservation Standards 
  •           Professional and governmental assistance
  •           Municode
  •           Associated technical standards



The Sustainable Community Forestry Program of the Georgia Forestry Commission has a set of booklets that were designed to aid communities in the revision of existing or development of new tree ordinances.  They are available from your local GFC office, online at under the Resources tab, or by clicking the image at the bottom of this page.

The Tree Ordinance Development Guidebook provides detailed information on how to go about the process of building or rebuilding your community’s tree ordinance

The GFC website also offers information on many community forest management topics and on assistance opportunities for your community.  On their website, under the Community Forests tab, you can learn more about:.

  • The Sustainable Community Forestry Program (SCFP) and how to contact the SCFP staff
  • Tree Benefits
  • Tree Care
  • Trees & Storm Safety
  • Ask the Arborist
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Planning & Policy
  • Getting Professional Assistance from certified arborists and city/county arborists
  • Georgia Arbor Day
  • Community Forestry Assistance
  • Making the Shade Program
  • Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA, and Tree Line USA Programs


The International Society of Arboriculture website at has a 181-page publication, Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances, that includes detailed information on planning for an ordinance, drafting a tree ordinance, and evaluating the urban forest and ordinance performance.


The Georgia Forestry Commission has helpful publications on topics that are involved in planning, drafting, and enforcing a tree ordinance. Many of the publications listed below set out recommended details and specifications for choosing trees, planting trees, and developing a tree ordinance.

The Recommended Community Tree Ordinance Tree Conservation Standards (GFC) booklet provides a set of standards for tree conservation, protection, selection, planting, removal, and maintenance.

  • Glossary of Selected Terminologies and Definitions for Community Tree Ordinances (GFC). The use of these standards, terms, and definitions is highly recommended to promote consistency among ordinances throughout Georgia.
  • Recommended Criteria for the Identification of “Specimen Trees” Selected for Conservation during Development (GFC)
  • Georgia Model Urban Forest Book (GFC)
  • Community Tree Planting and Establishment Guidelines (GFC)
  • Green Buffers for Screening and Noise Reduction (GFC)
  • Recommended Tree Species Selections for Urban and Community Forest Sustainability (GFC)

A link to this publication is found at the bottom of this page.


Having a professional arborist or forester involved in the development of your tree ordinance is essential.  If your community does not have an arborist or forester on staff, you have some other options for finding technical assistance.


The Georgia Forestry Commission provides technical assistance to communities who are building a tree ordinance or working toward achieving Tree City USA status through the Arbor Day Foundation.  One of the requirements for becoming a Tree City is the adoption of a tree ordinance.  Contact a community forester with the Sustainable Community Forestry Program at for further information.


The Georgia Tree Council also provides educational programs on a wide variety of community forest management topics.  Visit their website at to explore the many educational opportunities that they offer.


The International Society of Arboriculture operates a voluntary certification program for arborists, utility arborists, master arborists, and tree care workers.  Many consulting arborists, foresters, horticulturists, and landscape architects maintain ISA Certified Arborist credentials.  Click here to search for a certified arborist in your area or verify an arborist’s credentials on the ISA website.


The Arbor Day Foundation is the certifying entity for a community seeking to become a Tree City. Many resources are available on their website, including downloadable manuals and guides to the Tree City and Tree Campus programs.  A Tree City USA application can be started here.


Municode is a web-based subscription service containing a municipal law and local ordinance research tool. Results can be filtered by municipality, region, or state, and can be narrowed by government type and population size. It could be helpful to see what other local governments have done and how they have written their tree ordinances. You can even sign up to be notified of newly enacted or updated ordinances for municipalities in multiple states.


In addition to the Tree Conservation Standards booklet available from the Georgia Forestry Commission, there are arboricultural standards that are used by professional arborists and commonly cited in tree ordinances.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) maintains approved industry standards for tree care operations that are developed and updated by a broad-based group of experienced professionals.  Booklets in the A300 series are published on a variety of tree care topics and are updated periodically:

 ANSI A300 (Part 1) - 2019 Pruning

ANSI A300 (Part 2) - 2013 Soil Management (includes Fertilization)

ANSI A300 (Part 3) -2014 Supplemental Support Systems (includes Cabling, Bracing, and Guying, and Propping)

ANSI A300 (Part 4) - 2015 Lightning Protection Systems

ANSI A300 (Part 5) - 2016 Management of Trees and Shrubs During Site Planning, Site Development, and Construction

ANSI A300 (Part 6) - 2014 Transplanting (includes Planting)

ANSI A300 (Part 7) - 2014 Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM)

ANSI A300 (Part 9) - 2017 Tree Risk Assessment

ANSI A300 (Part 10) - 2016 Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

ANSI Z-60 – American Standard for Nursery Stock published by the American Horticultural Industry Association (AmericanHort).  A downloadable free copy is available from their website at

ANSI Z133 – American National Standard for Arboricultural Operations: Safety Requirements is a comprehensive safety standard written by arborists for the arboriculture profession and applies to those engaged in arboricultural operations. 

The A300 booklet series, the Z133 manual, and associated best management practices manuals can be purchased from

The Urban Tree Foundation offers an extensive set of free planting details and specifications that can be downloaded in AutoCAD, PDF, or Microsoft Word formats for use by the green industry.  These planting details and specifications can be included in site plans, tree protection plans, tree conservation plans and tree ordinances and are designed specifically for use by landscape architects, engineers, architects, contractors, urban foresters, arborists, municipalities, and state agency personnel.

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Understanding Tree Ordinances

Components of Tree Ordinances

Getting Started: The 12 Steps to Writing an Effective Tree Ordinance