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Shade Tree Preservation Plans & Tree Ordinances

June 18, 2021

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Due to recent changes in legislation, governance boards now have the option to adopt Shade Tree Preservation Plans to more effectively manage municipal shade trees. 

The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program (UCF) is currently in a pilot program with 10 municipalties to develop effective and legal Shade Tree Preservation Plans (STPP). Once the pilot program has been completed they will be posting examples on their website to assist other communities with the process. For those that would like to get started on their own plans they have posted a helpful informational overview of STPP requirements

You can also refer to our new VLCT Tree Law topics page for other resources such as our new Tree Law FAQs, a webinar recording of our recent training session with UCF titled Tree Law Overview & Shade Tree Preservation Plans.

VLCT recommends adopting a tree ordinance in conjunction with your Shade Tree Preservation Plan to better control and manage trees in your municipality. For more information on ordinance adoption, please view our model templates and info sheets on our Governance topics page.

Items you might include in your tree ordinance:

  • Establish and prioritize procedures for tree plantings, removals, and protection;
  • Rules for who and when tree maintenance is performed (could help with liability and helps tree warden know when new trees are planted)
  • Penalties for violating ordinance rules that aren’t covered in state law
  • Define language locally (i.e., “shade” or “ornamental tree” – no state law definition)
  • Establish procedures for the prevention and control of damage from forest pests;