Urban Forestry

“Urban Forestry is a specialized branch of forestry that has as its objective the cultivation and management of trees for their present and potential contribution to the physiological, sociological and economic well-being of urban society...” (Society of American Foresters 1974)

Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide critical benefits to people and wildlife. Urban forests help to filter air and water, control storm water, conserve energy, and provide animal habitat and shade. They add beauty, form, and structure to urban design. By reducing noise and providing places to recreate, urban forests strengthen social cohesion, spur community revitalization, and add economic value to our communities. They provide so many benefits that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and city planners regard them as part of a city’s “green infrastructure.”  At a time when more and more people around the world live in cities, it is increasingly important to care for our urban trees and take advantage of the many benefits that our urban forests offer. The City of Annapolis has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for 25 years. Trees in the City of Annapolis provide a wealth of benefits and are recognized as an essential environmental asset for us and for generations to come.

City Tree Code and Forms

  • City Code
  • Tree Removal Application
  • Native Plant Manual - All deciduous replacement trees shall be native and a minimum of one and a half inches in diameter measured six inches off the ground. All coniferous trees shall be native and a minimum of five feet in height.   

City Code Chapter 14.12 Trees  

  1. Applies when no grading permit, building permit, or site design plan review are required.
  2. The removal of any tree over five inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) requires a tree permit when the tree is within the legally defined front, side or rear setbacks of any residential or commercial property next to a public right-of-way.  For setback info: City Code Chapter 21.50 – Bulk Regulations Tables.  Download, fill out and submit a tree removal permit as instructed in the document.
  3. The removal of any tree in the Historic District requires approval of the Historic Preservation Commission.  Please submit a tree removal permit and either an administrative approval application or a full application.  Check to see if your property is in the Historic District.
  4. Tree replacement requirements for aforementioned item 2 and 3:
    Removed tree
    Replacement Tree(s)
    5—10″ Diameter breast height (dbh)
    1 tree
    10.1—20″ Diameter breast height (dbh)
    2 trees
    Greater than 20″
    3 trees
  5. The removal of any tree within a hundred feet of the water requires a simplified buffer management plan or a buffer management plan for buffer exemption area or a major/minor buffer management plan. Please submit the forms to the Department of Planning and Zoning (P&Z). 
  6. The removal of any tree in a conservation easement area requires approval of the City’s Conservancy Board. Please submit a tree permit. Please check to see if part of your property is in a conservation easement or next to one.

City Code Chapter 17.09 Trees in Development Areas 

  1. Applies when a grading permit, building permit, or site design plan review are required. 
  2. A landscape plan will need to be submitted when any trees are removed and/or impacted by proposed construction. For all details on what needs to be on a landscape plan please check City code section 17.09.030 Landscape Plan. A landscape plan should address the following: 
    • Show the Limit of Disturbance (LOD) and all existing trees over five inches in diameter within fifteen feet of the LOD. Please include location, species, and dbh for each tree. 
    • Show building footprints, access drives, parking areas, public streets, existing and proposed utilities and stormwater management structures, proposed finished grades, and sediment and erosion control structures. 
    • Show all trees regardless of size within the legal boundaries of the property, noting all tree driplines. Please include location, species, and diameter (measured at four and one-half feet above ground) for each tree. 
    • All required tree preservation details: tree protection fencing, root pruning, areas to be covered with wood chips, aeration matting, and so on. 
    • Show, preferably in a table format, which trees will be removed, what mitigation is required, and which trees will be planted. Include the following: tree name (botanical and common), quantity, diameter measured at six inches above ground (minimum two inches), type of rootstock, planting detail, proposed and required buffer areas.  
  3. When a property is within a thousand feet of the water (Critical Area) table 17.09.070 (see below) applies for tree replacement requirements. There are three designations within the Critical Area: Intensely Developed Areas, Limited Development Areas, and the Resource Conservation Areas. 
  4. When a property is outside a thousand feet of the water (Outside Critical Areas) and the property is less than forty thousand square feet table 17.09.070 applies for tree replacement requirements. 
  5. Tree replacement requirements for aforementioned item 3 and 4: see appendix one 
  6. When a property is outside a thousand feet of the water (outside Critical Area) and the property is over forty thousand square feet the Maryland Forest Conservation Act (FCA) applies for forest conservation and tree replacement requirements. One can also check the State Forest Conservation Technical Manual (Third Edition, 1997) The removal of certain trees requires a variance: threatened and endangered species, historic trees, trees with 30 inch dbh or greater or 75% of the diameter of a state champion. Furthermore, the trimming, cutting, and removal of a roadside tree in conjunction with a building permit requires a permit from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. A Forest Stand Delineation and Forest Conservation plan need to be prepared by a qualified professional. Furthermore, all required FCA forms need to be submitted.

Appendix One

Table 17.09.070

Tree Replacement Requirements

Plant Material
Size
Number to be 
replaced for
number
removed:
Outside Critical
Areas
Number to be
replaced for
number
removed:
Intensely
Developed
Areas
Number to be
replaced for
number
removed:
Limited
Development
Areas
Number to be
replaced for
number
removed:
Resource
Conservation
Areas
Number to be
replaced for
number
removed: 100
foot Buffer
Critical Area
Scrub shrub -
sapling <1"
DBH
no replacement 1 for every 20
square feet
1 for every 40
square feet
Area basis for
area basis
*
Trees 1 to <4"
DBH
no replacement 1 for 1 1 for 1 Area basis for
area basis
*
Trees 4 to
<12" DBH
1 for 2  2 for 1 1 for 1 Area basis for
area basis
*
Trees 12 to
<18" DBH
1 for 1  3 for 1  2 for 1 Area basis for
area basis
*
Trees 18 to 24"
DBH
2 for 1  4 for 1  3 for 1 Area basis for
area basis
*
Trees >24"
DBH
3 for 1  6 for 1  4 for 1 Area basis for
area basis
*
Additional
requirements
found in
Section 
17.09.070 17.09.070
(G)(1-2)
17.09.070 (H)(1-  5) 17.09.070 (I)(1-2)  17.09.070
(J)(1-8)