Forestry

forestry.jpg

Fort Worth has promoted sound urban forestry practices since 1873, when the city charter declared it illegal to hitch a horse to a tree. The city hired its first arborist in the 1920s.

Fort Worth is the oldest and longest running Tree City USA in Texas, a designation the city first received in 1978.

Hazard abatement

The Forestry Section will prune or remove city-owned trees that pose a high risk to people or property. Forestry may also prune privately-owned trees that could endanger the public; for example, a broken tree branch that blocks a city sidewalk.

To request tree work or report a tree hazard on city-owned property, call the Forestry Section at 817-392-5738. For street tree emergencies on weekends, holidays and after 4 p.m. on weekdays, contact the Transportation & Public Works Department at 817-392-1234.

Due to limited resources, Forestry only responds to calls related to hazard abatement. The Forestry division's objective is to keep residents as safe as possible using available resources. Ranking requests for pruning is the best method to obtain that objective.

All Forestry work is inspected and prioritized in the following manner:

  • Emergency: An immediate threat to person, property or commerce. Example: Tree uprooting and leaning toward a busy playground or a tree fallen and blocking all lanes of traffic on an arterial street.
  • Urgent: A threat to life, property or commerce that can be barricaded and made safe until the risk can be mitigated. Example: Large broken branch over the sidewalk in front of an elementary school.

  • Priority 1: Significant and obvious danger. Example: dead tree in poor condition, serious traffic hazard, broken limbs, fallen trees.

  • Priority 2:  Hindrance or nuisance but not immediate danger. Example: Dead trees which are still solid, trimming of dead wood and low limbs over sidewalks, minor traffic hazards.

  • Priority 3:  Routine maintenance that presents either a low or no safety risk. Examples: minor trimming, limbs safely down on the ground/trunk removal in low use areas.

Permitting and Plan Review

Under the City Ordinance, Chapter 33, any tree removal, planting and pruning in the parkway, ROW, parkland or other public space shall be approved by the City Forester. The permits are a free process and are typically issued within three weeks from submittal. These are separate and apart from the Urban Forestry permits and apply only to city-owned property such as street ROW, alley, city parks and municipal buildings. Any construction or excavation plans that are within 75 feet of these trees shall be approved before work begins to judge tree impacts and set limits for tree protection and damage regarding city trees.

Tree Removal Permit Application(PDF, 286KB)

  • Identify tree(s) to be removed by species and diameter on a site map.
  • List specifically the trees that are in the ROW, Parkway, etc.
  • Provide information on intended mitigation.

Tree Pruning Permit Application(PDF, 122KB)

  • Identify tree(s) to be pruned by species and diameter on a site map.
  • Provide contractor’s credentials.

Tree Planting Permit Application(PDF, 292KB)

  • Space trees 25 feet apart, 10 feet from street lights, utility boxes (above and below ground), utility poles and sewer inlets.
  • Tree grates must be expandable.
  • Projects more than 21 trees shall have no more than 30 percent of trees in one subgenus.
  • Projects between 5 and 21 trees shall have no more than 50 percent of the trees in one subgenus.
  • Stake trees, as needed, with underground staking system. Non-biodegradable material to be removed within one year.
  • Provide irrigation information.

Recommended Trees for ROW Planting(PDF, 568KB)

Heritage Trees

The Heritage Tree Program helps foster an appreciation of trees, and promotes public awareness that heritage trees are a living and distinct resource for the Fort Worth community. Nominations are reviewed annually, and newly designated trees are announced at the city’s Arbor Day celebration in November.

To nominate a Heritage Tree, download a nomination form(PDF, 31KB).

To be considered, trees must be located within the Fort Worth city limits and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Possess an unusual size, age, species significance or other characteristic that contributes to its heritage status (the Quanah Parker Park Pecans, for example).
  • Be located on a historic site, such as the Trader’s Oak, or contribute to the history of a site, such as the Turner Oak.
  • Serve as a well known landmark, such as the Martel Avenue and Oakland Boulevard pecan trees.
  • Contribute to significant community ties, such as the trees growing in the middle of Crestwood Drive.

View a map of Fort Worth's Heritage Trees.

Volunteer

No matter your level of expertise, whether you’re interested in helping out for a day or wanting a more long-term commitment, the Forestry Section has a volunteer opportunity for you.

Saturdays at the Tree Farm

Volunteer workdays at the Rolling Hills Tree Farm are the third Saturday of each month, from January through June and September through November. Reservations are required at least one week in advance. Projects vary by season, but often include transplanting trees into containers; planting in the tree fields; weeding; staking and tying trees; and organizing the tree inventory. Bring your family, friends, co-workers and fellow tree enthusiasts. Rain or shine, we’ll be here with something to do for every physical activity level. For more information or to RSVP, contact 817-392-7452.

Become a Citizen Forester

Interested in a longer-term volunteer commitment with more in-depth training? Citizen Foresters receive 60 hours of training in exchange for 25 or more hours of volunteer service focused on publicly-owned trees.

Citizen Foresters are capable of assisting with tree inventories; training and pruning of newly-established trees; measuring street trees for clearance; helping lead groups on volunteer days at the Fort Worth Tree Farm; participating in tree planting projects; helping residents select the right trees at give-away events; etc.

Visit the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council website to find out more about this program and to register for the upcoming training.

Special opportunities

To volunteer for the Mayfest tree give-away booth, Arbor Day events, special planting projects, or to schedule a volunteer day at the tree farm for a group of 10 or more members, contact 817-392-7452.


 

Free trees

The Forestry Section encourages tree planting on public property through the following two programs.

Neighborhood Tree Planting Program

The Neighborhood Tree Planting Program (NTPP) is a great way to add value to your home and neighborhood. Participating as a group, neighborhoods within Fort Worth can receive free 5-gallon trees for planting in the parkway.

The tree planting season occurs from October to April of every year, but may occasionally extend into May as weather permits.

Participants are required to plant the trees, or enlist help to do so, and agree to water the trees for a period of two years or until established. In addition to increasing property values by up to 20 percent, studies have shown that trees can reduce crime rates, slow the speed of traffic on residential streets, dampen noise, reduce stress and promote a feeling of wellness. The NTPP is also a great way to build a sense of community while getting to know your neighbors.

How the program works

  • One person from the neighborhood agrees to be the neighborhood coordinator and serves as the link between the Forestry Section and the participating group.

  • The number of trees provided for each address will depend on the available space. Large shade trees need to be spaced a minimum of 25’ apart. Spacing considerations must also be observed for visibility at intersections, for street lights, meter boxes, and other existing infrastructure.

  • It is the neighborhood’s responsibility to plant the trees or find volunteers if needed.

  • Residents rank their preferred tree species on the neighborhood’s registration page. While Forestry will try to match requests, there is no guarantee that he or she will receive the preferred tree as specified by the resident.

  • Deliveries are set based on when neighborhoods complete and submit their sign-up. Fall is the best time for planting trees and also usually offers the broadest selection of trees. By late spring, Forestry may run out of trees for the season. If a list is already submitted when trees run out, you may opt to be placed on the waiting list for the following planting season.

  • Contact the Forestry Section at 817-392-7452 or forestry@fortworthtexas.gov for a current sign-up sheet or to have an online sign-up built for your neighborhood.

More information

Tree Grant Program

The Tree Grant Program provides free trees for street medians, public parks, commercial parkways and other public property, including police and fire stations, libraries and schools. Two kinds of trees are available: 3-inch diameter balled and burlapped trees and 10- to 15-gallon container-grown trees.

Applications are due Sept. 15 each year.

Apply online

View the evaluation guidelines.(PDF, 32KB)

Trees for the Grant Program are grown at Rolling Hills, the city’s tree farm, from locally-collected seeds. The tree species are either native or well-adapted to the area and include bald cypress, cedar elm, Chinese pistache, Eve’s necklace, golden raintree, Kentucky coffeetree, Mexican buckeye, bur oak, Chinquapin oak, live oak, Mexican white oak, post oak, red oak and Texas redbud. Balled and burlapped trees are available only during the dormant season, usually December through March, while the container-grown trees can be planted fall through spring.

How the program works

To be considered for the Tree Grant Program, applicants must agree to the following minimum requirements:

  • Complete a Tree Grant Application and site plan, and submit them to the Forestry Section by Sept. 15 of each tree planting season.
  • Locate utility lines prior to receiving trees.
    • To locate lines for city street lights and traffic signals, call 817-392-1234 at least three to five working days before you plan to dig. A city employee will come out and mark the underground lines.
    • To locate phone, cable, gas, electric, water or sewer lines, call Texas811 (811) at least two working days before you plan to dig.
      • Be prepared to answer detailed questions about the project, including location, address, depth and width that you are digging, how long your dig will take and any other special instructions needed to make sure the correct area gets marked. If possible, be ready with the GPS coordinates or Mapsco number of your dig.
      • Be sure to receive a reference number as confirmation of the phone call.
      • Texas811 will then notify utility companies, who will come out and mark their underground lines.
  • Plant the trees within 24 hours of delivery, according to city tree planting specifications.
  • Water the trees for a two-year period after planting.
  • Meet with a forester on site during tree planting to ensure the trees are being planted correctly.

Because the demand for trees is always greater than the Forestry Section can accommodate, these trees are awarded on a priority basis. In addition to the evaluation criteria, the following factors help to determine the priority status of a project:

  • Trees that will be planted by a neighborhood group or other entity will have priority over trees to be planted by Forestry work crews.
  • Hand watering by a neighborhood group or other entity will be given priority over projects that must be hand watered by Forestry work crews.
  • Projects that will be irrigated using drip emitters or tree bubblers will be given priority over hand watering.
  • Tree irrigation water that is paid for by a neighborhood group or other entity will have priority over water that will be paid by the city.