Charlottesville Urban Forestry Program

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Tree Inventory

In January of 2018, Charlottesville Parks & Recreation initiated a project with the goal of creating an inventory of all the trees that exist on public property within the City of Charlottesville. The foundation of the inventory is a GPS field survey conducted in 2008 of all the existing trees at that time. This 2008 survey recorded the coordinates and several other attributes of Individual trees located in parks, schools, and right-of-ways. Trees in larger forested areas were estimated through the use of plot samples, and while we still retain the plot sample records, they do not appear in the 2018 inventory. In addition to the 2008 field survey records, all of the trees that have been planted on public property since 2008 have been plotted using GPS location equipment, and have been assigned many of the same attributes as the trees identified in the 2008 field study. The result of these efforts is a comprehensive inventory of the individual trees (excluding forested areas) that are planted on public property, and fall under the care of Charlottesville Parks & Recreation.

The second phase of this project was the development of the interactive dashboard below, which allows the user to explore the tree inventory at the location and attribute level. Hovering over any of the bars or map points will provide additional information, while clicking on any of the bars will filter the entire dashboard by that particular attribute. For an even deeper exploration of the inventory, the user can click multiple bars to filter the dashboard by multiple attributes. Click the ‘Reset’ arrow at the bottom to un-filter the dashboard.

Urban Forest Conservation and Initiatives

The City of Charlottesville has taken an active role in the preservation, protection, expansion, monitoring, and education about its urban forest. The Charlottesville Parks & Recreation department is responsible for planting, maintenance, and removal of trees on public properties including parks, schools, street right-of-ways, and at public buildings such as City Hall. This page provides information on a variety of programs, policies, studies, and efforts related to urban forest management.

The 2015 Citywide Urban Tree Canopy Report » and presentation »

The 2016 Downtown Mall Tree Assessment Report »

The City has an appointed Tree Commission to help advise staff and council on urban forest management efforts and policies.

Charlottesville has adopted a Tree Conservation Ordinance to allow special trees to be considered for additional protections. Trees may be nominated in one of four categories: Heritage tree means any tree that is believed to have notable historic or cultural interest; Memorial tree means any tree that is a special commemorating memorial; Specimen tree means any tree that is believe to be notable by virtue of its outstanding size and quality for its particular species; Street tree means any tree that is believed to grow in the street right-of-way or on private property as authorized by the owner and placed or planted there by the local government. Anyone may nominate a tree on private property, but if the tree is not nominated by the property owner, the nomination must include a written consent of the property owner. Only the Tree Commission may nominate public trees. To nominate a tree, download this nomination form and email it or use this fillable nomination form.

The City has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA since 2006, and received a "Growth Award" in 2010 for its efforts to further improve its forestry management.

The Jefferson Park Avenue Utility Friendly Arboretum showcases tree species that fit under and above utilities without needing pruning and that do not impact the utilities around them. Visit the median along JPA to see trees and learn more about how you can plant similar trees on your property.

Arbor Day 2009 Tree Planting Event Video »

Urban Tree Canopy Management

The City of Charlottesville has made strong commitments to natural resource management through its adoption of the 1998 Sustainability accords, the 2001 Comprehensive Plan, the 2003 Environmental Sustainability Policy, the pursuit of a citywide Environmental Management System, and most recently, the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which specifically identifies the maintenance of healthy urban forests as an effective supporting action.

In response to various recent requests pertaining to the protection and management of urban trees and the urban tree canopy; representatives from the Parks & Recreation Department, the Department of Neighborhood Development Services, and the Environmental Office in Public Works have been developing strategies that will place the City in a proactive management position regarding the protection of our natural resources.

An Urban Forest Management Plan has been developed that supports the City’s historical commitments, is strategic in structure and will enable Charlottesville to be proactive in the stewardship of our natural resources, both public and private. The City's overall Tree Canopy Map which shows the city has a 47% overall tree canopy was developed as part of this study. City Council heard a presentation on the plan on June 15, 2009. This effort is designed to place the City in a position to manage its forests and trees in a sustainable and renewable manner, and provide for a codified program that meets the needs and values of our community.

Tree Canopy by neighborhood

Tree Canopy by Entry Corridor »

Tree Canopy by Watershed »

The City has also undertaken an Urban Forest Assessment of trees on public lands including parks, schools, cemeteries, city buildings, and street medians. The assessment helps identify the age, diversity, condition, and maintenance needs of the city's trees and forestedlands.

An Invasive Plant Species Assessment of public lands was conducted to determine the extent, type, and management options for exotic trees, vines, and other plants that threaten our urban forests and landscapes. Invasive plant species management techniques for various invasive species are included in the report.  For example, to remove vines from a tree, cut the vine both at shoulder height and at the ground to create a large gap that will help prevent the vine from re-climbing into the tree canopy. Budget sheets for each park for the invasives management plan are in a separate document due to file size.

Charlottesville Vegetative Debris Management Plan »

Summary of Charlottesville Ordinances related to trees and forests

Best Management Practices for Tree Preservation, Transplanting, and Removal (guide for homeowners and developers)