Tree Protection: Understanding Pensacola’s Tree Regulations

Did you know that the city with the largest percentage of trees in the world is in Florida? Yes, Tampa, Florida leads the entire world in tree population, and other Floridian cities such as Pensacola are looking to follow suit. 

Recently, the Pensacola City Council unanimously voted to update the city’s tree protection ordinance. The update strengthens tree removal regulations. It also states that an arborist is required to approve any permits for tree removal or pruning.

Those looking to remove a tree for commercial or residential development in the Pensacola area should be up to date on all tree regulations. It is of the utmost importance to avoid interruptions in your work and hefty fines. 

Keep reading to get the lowdown on Pensacola’s tree regulations.

Tree Protection Plans

For residential, commercial, or industrial development, creating a tree protection plan is necessary to get a building or site work permit. This plan must be drawn up by a landscape architect licensed in the state of Florida.
So what goes into a landscape and tree protection plan? Required components include:

  • Identification of all protected trees 
  • Location of protected trees to be preserved, removed, or replanted
  • Protection techniques to safeguard trees and vegetation during and after construction
  • Plans for an irrigation system for all planted areas

Protected Trees and Heritage Trees

Protected trees and heritage trees are designated species with special tree removal regulations and requirements before obtaining a tree removal permit. The number of protected trees allowed for removal will depend on the location of the proposed structures.

Protected tree species in Pensacola are broken up into three groups based on size. These include:

  • Dogwood
  • Redbud
  • American Holly
  • Southern Magnolia 
  • Live Oak
  • Sycamore
  • Red Maple

The moniker “heritage tree” applies to species with unique qualities. These qualities may be the tree’s age, rarity, or ecological or historical significance. Pensacola tree regulations prohibit the pruning, cutting, or removal of heritage trees without the approval of a landscape plan.

Tree Removal Regulations and Enforcement

If you must remove a protected tree, you already know that there are hoops of approval to jump through before you can proceed. Here are some acceptable reasons for tree removal approval:

  • Visibility Hazard: tree causes low visibility to pedestrians and vehicles
  • Safety Hazard: tree is dangerous or disruptive to nearby people or structures
  • Diseased/Weakened Tree: tree requires removal after damage or disease

When possible, trees should be relocated to a different location on the same property. A similar species must be planted to replace each removed protected tree.

If one does not comply with these and other detailed regulations, there will be consequences. The city of Pensacola first enforces these regulations through a stop-work order issued through a written notice. If that is not heeded, you may incur a fine. The size of the limbs and the tree removed will determine the fine amount.

Tree Services 

Becoming familiar with local regulations yourself is important. But the best way to ensure you’re following local tree protection regulations is to contact a tree service company.

Tri State Tree Services offers a multitude of tree services across Florida’s northwest coastal regions. You can guarantee excellent service with our workforce of experienced arborists and tree care professionals.

Request a free estimate today and we’ll guide you through the tree removal process and get the job done.


Tri-State Tree Service is an award-winning business supplying premier tree removal, tree trimming, and other tree care services to Florida’s northwest & Alabama's southeast coastal regions.

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Tri-State Tree Service
6146 Mobile Hwy.
Pensacola, FL 32526

Phone : 8508768003
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