Community Forestry

Trees and forests in urban areas represent valuable natural and cultural resources.

Community trees provide beauty and add to the property values, but new evidence also suggests trees save money and protect human health and well-being by reducing stormwater runoff, energy costs, and air pollution. These high-value trees in yards, parks and along city streets are collectively called the "urban forest," and because they grow in man-made environments, they need to be managed to keep residents safe and trees healthy.

Texas A&M Forest Service works with communities to help plant, care and protect trees where 21 million people live, work, learn, and play. The mission of our Urban Forestry program is to help build self-sustaining urban forestry and tree care programs in Texas communities. We do this by providing a range of services focused on creating awareness, education, outreach and technical assistance. Our urban foresters act as facilitators building partnerships between us, local governments, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations. With our help, the air you breathe and water you drink are cleaner; your neighborhood property values are raised; wildlife and nature are enhanced; life is less stressful and the beauty and safety of your streets and parks are increased.

Benefits of urban forests include:

· Increase property values

· Decrease energy costs

· Improve air quality

· Reduce stormwater runoff

· Decrease soil erosion

· Improve water quality

· Create wildlife habitats

· Increase community pride

· Promote walkable communities

· Increase recreational opportunities

· Improve general health and well-being

· Increase business traffic

· Create shade

· Reduce noise levels

· Create buffer zones

Texas Municipal Tree Ordinances

A tree ordinance helps communities manage, protect, and plan for a healthy community forest. The examples provided below are existing tree ordinances from communities in Texas and can serve as a resource in developing and refining tree ordinances.

Public Tree Care 

Austin, Buffalo Gap, Burleson, Cedar Hill, Colleyville, Coppell, El Paso, Euless, Flower Mound, Fort Hood, Fort Worth, Grande Prairie, Highland Village, Houston, Irving, Keller, Killeen, Lake Jackson, Laredo, Lufkin, Muenster, New Braunfels, Odessa, Pflugerville, Piney Point Village, Plano, Richardson, Rockport, Sachse, Shenandoah, Sonora, The Colony, Victoria, Waco, West University Place, Westlake

Tree Preservation

Abilene, Allen, Austin, Bedford, Bunker Hill Village, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Colleyville, Columbus, Coppell, Dickenson, Duncanville, Frisco, Grapevine, Helotes, Hewig Village, Hillshire Village, Houston, Hunters Creek Village, Ingleside, Kennedale, La Porte, Lake Dallas, Lancaster, League City, Little Elm, Lockhart, Mansfield, McKinney, Mesquite, North Richland Hills, Oak Point, Orange, Paris, Pearland, Pflugerville, Roanoke, Rockwall, Round Rock, Rowlett, Sachse, San Antonio, San Marcos, Seabrook, Shenandoah, Sunset Valley, The Colony, Weatherford, West Lake Hills


Abilene, Addison, Alamo Heights, Allen, Amarillo, Austin, Balch Springs, Baytown, Beaumont, Bryan, Burleson, Burnet, Cleveland, Commerce, Crowley, Del Rio, Denison, Denton, Dickenson, El Paso, Euless, Flower Mound, Fredericksburg, Friendsburg, Grapevine, Helotes, Hidalgo, Highland Village, Houston, Irving, Jersey Village, La Marque, La Porte, Lake Jackson, Lampasas, League City, Lewisville, Lorena, Mansfield, Marble Falls, McAllen, Mesquite, Midland, Missouri City, Nacogdoches, North Richland Hills, Pasadena, Pflugerville, Port Aransas, Portland, Richardson, Richland Hills, Roanoke, Rockwall, Rowlett, Saginaw, San Antonio, San Marcos, Sealy, Shenandoah, Shertz, Stafford, Sugar Land, Sunset Valley, Texarkana, The Colony, Tomball, Waco, Weatherford, Webster, Wichita Falls

For a more detailed list of municipal tree ordinances and technical manuals in Texas, organized by type and community, please visit You can also find a comprehensive list of definitions taken from public tree care, tree preservation, and landscape ordinances listed above for reference.

Author: rnr and cnd