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Pilot program encourages homeowners to plant mature trees

Post Date:11/21/2019 9:32 AM

Contact:  Jan Thornburg, Sr. Communications Manager   941-263-6369                 


Sarasota, FL:  To continue to grow the urban canopy, the City of Sarasota is supporting a community-driven pilot program offering an incentive up to $500 for residents who plant and maintain a mature tree within program guidelines.  Residents will own the tree and are required to invest $100.  

Homeowners will purchase the tree and will be required to water, prune and maintain it.  The program focuses on planting mature canopy and understory trees with a minimum 2-inchLive oak, tree caliper.  Planting is limited to the right of way or within ten feet of the right of way.

Participants can select from over two dozen approved species, from pink tabebuia to shady lady to live oak.  A complete list of approved trees and program details are available in the Mature Tree Canopy Pilot Program Guidelines.

Participants are required to complete a streamlined administrative process:

  • if applicable, obtaining a right of way minor use permit (fee waived)
  • approval of the planting location to ensure appropriate distance from utilities
  • approval for the time of year to plant the selected tree

Once the planting is verified by City staff, the City will reimburse the resident up to $500.   

The initial phase program includes 50 trees on a first come, first serve basis.

In addition to beautifying the community, trees provide significant benefits including saving energy, cleaning stormwater runoff, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning the air, lowering the urban heat island effect, providing wildlife habitat and improving overall health and well-being for people.

The Mature Tree Canopy Pilot Program is being funded with $50,000 from the City’s tree replacement fund which collects a portion of tree removal permit dollars to be used specifically for urban canopy programs.

Detailed information about the Mature Tree Canopy Pilot Program is available online.

Sarasota resident Lou Costa, a retired principal engineer, volunteered his time to administer the initiative.  

Residents interested in participating in the program should contact Lou Costa:



About the City of Sarasota:  Distinguished by U.S. News and World Report as the 18th Best Place to Live in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida’s Suncoast with 55,000 year-round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles.  Learn more about us at www.SarasotaFL.Gov


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