Urban Forestry and Landscape Services is an operational section of Pinellas County Public Works. Urban Forestry is responsible for the maintenance and management of a diverse, healthy and sustainable urban forest within Pinellas County. Landscape Services is responsible for the maintenance and management of turf and other vegetation on county maintained right-of-ways and medians. Collectively Pinellas County’s Urban Forestry and Landscape Services operate to sustain and enhance the environmental quality and appearance of the county through the maintenance and management of the county’s urban forest and landscapes. The county’s “green infrastructure” that includes assets maintained by this section improves the quality of life and significantly adds to the value and attractiveness of Pinellas County as place to live, conduct business and to visit.
Pinellas County Urban Forestry and Landscape Service staff work collaboratively with multiple departments and programs within the county. They also work with contractors and community organizations to accomplish their section’s responsibilities. These responsibilities include: turf and grounds maintenance, tree maintenance that includes pruning and removal, tree planting, tree and site inspections, development and plan review, appraisal of damaged public trees, urban ecosystem planning, public education and outreach, and tree-related emergency response.
Services provided by Urban Forestry and Landscape Services are performed in the unincorporated areas of Pinellas County. These areas include: work in subdivisions, on collector roads and arterial corridors, ditches, county properties that include parks, and county numbered roads through incorporated municipalities.
For more information or questions, call (727) 464-8900 or email us.
About Urban Forestry
Urban Forestry is responsible for managing and maintaining trees located on county property or that have growth extending over county property. This includes unincorporated areas of Pinellas County and along county numbered roads through incorporated municipalities. Pinellas County’s urban forest is a healthy and sustainable mix of trees, vegetation and other components on both public and private property. They collectively comprise a contiguous and thriving ecosystem that is valued, protected and cared for by the county and all of its citizens as an essential environmental, economic and community asset.
County owned trees are maintained for health, safety and appropriate clearances. Tree pruning is performed using the most currently published industry accepted ANSI A300 Part 1 Pruning Standard. Trees are also pruned to meet FDOT clearance guidelines of 14.5 feet over roads and 10 feet over sidewalks. County owned trees that are determined to be a hazard due to health or structural defects are assessed and prioritized for removal by Pinellas County’s Urban Forestry section. Trees located on private property are the responsibility of their owner to maintain. Trees and vegetation located on unopened county easements and right-of-ways are not maintained by Urban Forestry and Landscape Services nor are branches of county owned trees maintained for clearance over private property such as houses or driveways. Similar to how the county will maintain privately owned branches over county property for clearance, a property owner is allowed to maintain the branches of county owned trees for clearance over their property as long as said service is performed professionally and is not detrimental to the health of the tree.
About Landscape Services
Landscape Services is responsible for maintaining and managing turf and other vegetation along county maintained right-of-ways and medians. This includes the direct mowing and maintenance of some sites and the management of contractors to maintain other sites. These sites create space for other functionally important vegetation such as trees to grow, aid in storm water infiltration and control, enhance the appearance of and lessen the harshness often associated with roadside environments, and can increase the safety and functionality of the roadway itself.
Importance of Urban Forest and Landscape Professionals
A healthy and sustainable urban landscape that includes trees, turf and other vegetation is no accident. Each requires an investment in their maintenance and management to ensure their appropriate use, healthy development and long term survivability. Urban foresters, arborists and grounds maintenance professionals are the individuals equipped with the knowledge and expertise to provide this maintenance and management of these valuable environmental assets. Pinellas County Urban Forestry and Landscape Services employs these professionals to maintain and manage the county’s urban forest and green assets. Maintaining and managing these assets in a sustainable manner that not only maintains, but also enhances the environment of the county for perpetuity is a key goal of these professionals and of Pinellas County’s Urban Forestry and Landscape Services section.
Importance of the Urban Forest and Landscape in Pinellas County
The urban forest in Pinellas County consists of both public and private trees. Both as individuals and collectively as a whole, these trees make Pinellas County a more attractive place to live and visit while providing ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are the benefits trees provide via their growth and existence in the environment. These benefits contribute to a more livable and sustainable environment with local, regional, national and even global impacts. Examples of ecosystem services include: air quality improvement, energy conservation, stormwater interception, and the reduction of atmospheric carbon. They also provide less quantifiable aesthetic, social, economic and health benefits.
The ecosystem benefits provided by trees can now be quantified and, according to the USDA Forest Service Central Florida Community Tree Guide (PSW-GTR-230) which includes Pinellas County, can be as much as $149 a year or as much as $5960 over 40 years in provided ecosystem benefits for a properly located large tree.
According to the Lawn Institute, turf grass provides a number of benefits. Both vehicular and pedestrian traffic is directed by turf grass barriers on roadsides and medians. Roadsides and medians are also stabilized by turf grass which ran reduce run off that causes flooding or diminish soil erosion that can muddy road surfaces. The absorption of dust and other particulates is another benefit that improves visibility. Turf grass can act as a barrier in deterring chemicals from entering the soil profile and pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, are absorbed by turf grass. Oxygen generation is another important benefit of turf grass with a 50x50 foot area of healthy turf grass producing enough oxygen annually for a family of four.