Laws regarding grand trees and protected trees vary between municipalities, so a tree on one side of the street may be subject to different laws as a similar tree on the other side of the street. Make sure to verify what laws are relevant to your property. For example, unincorporated Hillsborough County has “grand oaks,” not “grand trees.”
Also, laws change and this page may not keep up with those changes. All information contained herein is provided as a courtesy introduction only and cannot be solely relied upon for any decision. Contact a professional or attorney who is familiar with your situation.
Beginning June 1st, 2019, a ‘grand tree’ is almost any tree with a trunk diameter of 32″. That’s it. Large Oak trees are usually grand, but the City of Tampa Land Development Code has a list of other typical species as well
The health of the tree does not matter, unless completely dead. A grand-sized tree in poor condition is still grand.
If you can stand in front of a tree and wrap your arms around it, it is not a grand tree (except in the very rare circumstance that you are standing in front of a Champion or Challenger Tree). The trunk diameter is too small for the tree to qualify as grand.
If the tree is an invasive species, like an Australian Pine or Norfolk Island Pine, it can’t be grand. In some cases, you may actually be required to remove the tree just because it is invasive. A list of invasive species in Florida is maintained by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. The outlier here is that invasive Camphor Trees can still be considered to be grand.
Yes, you can.
First, figure out what kind of tree you have. For assistance, consider contacting a UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener to help identify the tree.
If the tree isn’t an invasive species, measure the trunk diameter. To measure the diameter, arborists use a diameter tape and wrap it around the trunk to get either or circumference or direct diameter conversion measurement. The measurement is taken from about 54″ above the ground, at roughly chest height. The same measurement can be taken with a measuring band like the ones used to get fitted for a suit or dress. A metal tape measure will not work. If you wrap the band all the way around the trunk and the measurement is greater than 100″ or about 8′-4″, then the tree is probably grand. If you have a tree survey that shows the diameter, then the tree will likely be grand if the diameter is equal to or greater than 32″ (but it is always worth having a consulting arborist verify that diameter measurement).
You can also request a “Tree Consultation” with a city arborist; the cost is $50 + tax. However, it may get scheduled several months out.
Maybe and it’s complicated.
You don’t have and aren’t being asked to remove it (unless it is in such bad condition that the city considers it to be dangerous).
But protection is intentional, and the city has specific requirements to make tree protection successful. Below is a draft tree protection detail in progress from 2017 (ignore “heritage tree”).
This detail won’t cover all construction scenarios, but a consulting arborist can help the design or construction team provide functional tree protection strategies.
400 N Tampa St · Suite 1040
Tampa, Florida · 33602
Serving all of Florida, specialized
in the Tampa Bay Region
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State of Florida OSD
City of Tampa
Hillsborough County (SBE)
FDOT DBE and SBE
Pinellas County (SBE)