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Lakeland's Urban Forest

Chinese Fringe Tree in full bloom with white blooms on Lake Morton shore.

The City of Lakeland boasts over 56,000 publicly managed street and park trees and over 300 distinct tree species. Predominant tree species include slash pine (Pinus elliottii), common crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), live oak (Quercus virginiana), cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), and laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia). The public trees in Lakeland provide about 590 acres of canopy, provide shade, reduce energy use, improve air quality, reduce carbon dioxide levels, mitigate stormwater runoff, and increase property values.  All of these effects are part of our effort to increase the quality of life to every citizen in Lakeland.

 In a cost-benefit analysis conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in 2011, the public trees in Lakeland were found to provide the city with a net annual benefit of $2,038,450.  In other words, the city receives $3.17 in benefits for every $1 spent on our municipal forestry program. The Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for the care and upkeep of our urban forest in order to sustain the economical and ecological benefits of our public trees.  Some duties include:

  • Removing dead, dying or dangerous trees
  • Pruning street trees to remove dead wood and lift tree canopies for vehicle access
  • Ensuring street trees do not impede lines of sight for traffic safety
  • Clearing street tree debris from public areas
  • First response during hurricane and storm events
  • Installing and relocating large trees in public areas

Lakeland Tree Information

Tree Crew
For information or to report downed limbs or a tree on public property
Please note: Private trees are not the purview of the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department.

Weekdays 7am-3:30pm
Parks Office
Email TreeCrew@Lakelandgov.net or call 863.834.2233

After Hours
Lakeland Police Department non-emergency at 863.834.6900

 

Tree Removal Permit Application - To remove a tree from a residential or commercial property if it is dead, diseased, damaged, or due to construction, etc

 

City of Lakeland Landscape Ordinances - Found in the Land Development Code
The link above will take you to the City of Lakeland Land Development Code. We are providing directions below on how to find the Landscape Ordinance in the Land Development Code.

  1. Follow the link: Land Development Code
  2. To access the City of Lakeland Land Development Codes, click “I agree” at the bottom of the page
  3. Landscaping, Trees, and Buffering General Site Development Standards are found in Article 4.5 in the following locations:
    • Contents:
      • Article & Page
      • 4.5.1 INTENT AND APPLICABILITY  4.33
      • 4.5.2 ADMINISTRATIVE MODIFICATIONS 4.34
      • 4.5.3 DEFINITIONS  4.36
      • 4.5.4 MINIMUM TREE DENSITY 4.38
      • 4.5.5 FOUNDATION LANDSCAPING 4.38
      • 4.5.6 STREET TREES  4.40
      • 4.5.7 VEHICLE USE AREAS 4.42
      • 4.5.8 LANDSCAPING OF OTHER ON-SITE FACILITIES 4.48
      • 4.5.9 BUFFERING OF PROTECTED USES  4.50
      • 4.5.10 TREE PRESERVATION 4.52
      • 4.5.11 STANDARDS FOR LANDSCAPE DESIGN, INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE 4.59
        • Tables of Qualified Trees and Plants 4.61
      • 4.5.12 LANDSCAPE AND IRRIGATION PLANS 4.79
      • 4.5.13 ENFORCEMENT 4.81
      • 4.5.14 APPEALS 4.83

 

Other Helpful Links

Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arborculture (ISA) - Resources for finding and hiring local certified arborists and overall tree care

Florida Urban Forestry Council - Details and seminars about Florida state policies, tree care, and more

National Arbor Day Foundation -Information on choosing and identifying trees, planting and care, the mission of the Arbor Day Foundation, and more

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) - An A-Z index to locate all of their research departments, information on plant diseases, care, identification, and governmental programs