Houston Parks and Recreation Department

COH Tree Protection Ordinance


Tree Protection Graphic

The Tree Protection Ordinance as contained in sections V and VI of Chapter 33 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances pertains to the protection and preservation of trees and shrubs on city property. This includes trees on rights-of-way, medians, parks and other city property. A permit is required to remove any tree on city property or on a setback. Please check with the 311 Houston Service Center for specifics before proceeding with your plans for building or renovating a house, driveway or other project involving trees adjacent to a street.

Trees With City Seal GraphicThe requirements for commercial properties are more specific in regards to trees and shrubs, and the ordinance is available for clarification.  It provides standards for planting trees and shrubs and landscaping buffers, and protects Houston's greenery by offering incentives to property owners who preserve and care for existing trees.

City Council has been given the power to designate a green corridor to consist of rights-of-way of a major thoroughfare and building setback areas of abutting and adjacent properties in order to enhance the beauty of our city.  Within the corridor, existing trees are given enhanced protection and the varieties of acceptable new trees are listed.  The ordinance requires any tree removal in the corridor to be authorized by city permit, and the tree must be replaced by a specifically stated formula.  This applies to trees affected by new construction or renovation of existing structures or parking lots.

Again, the removal of any tree on city property must follow the city permit process.  Please consult the Tree Protection Ordinance in sections V and VI of Chapter 33 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances.

Tree Links

COH Tree Protection Ordinance Adopt-An-EsplanadeGuide for Community PlantingHarris County Flood Control DistrictHouston's Regional ForestTexas Forest ServiceTree Diseases

Professional Groups

Int'l Society of ArboricultureSociety of American Foresters

Non-Profit Groups

Buffalo Bayou PartnershipHermann Park ConservancyHouston Parks BoardHouston Arboretum and Nature CenterKeep Houston BeautifulMercer ArboretumScenic Houston
Tree City USATrees for HoustonTexas Urban Forestry Council