Tree Preservations Regulations

Well-managed trees are vital part of our city and help enhance the quality of life in Vero Beach.  To promote and protect our tree canopy we have a Tree Protection Ordinance, which requires approval for the removal of most trees.

Tree Removal Permit Required:

For any specimen tree, protected tree (minimum 3” diameter at breast height DBH) of palm (12’ in height) or any tree or palm required by an approved site plan or landscape plan.


  • Trees and palms classified as invasive pursuant to Section 72.33
  • Trees that are under 3” diameter at breast height (DBH)
  • Palms under 12’ in height
  • Mangroves (required approval from Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the St. Johns Water Management District, and all other governmental and regulatory agencies that now have or may in the future have jurisdiction over and regulate such actions.

Tree Removal Permits should be submitted to the Planning & Development Department

  • Conditions for tree removal approval. Planning staff is only authorized to approve the removal of a tree for the following reasons:
  1. Tree or palm is in a hazardous or unsafe condition.
  2. Location or condition of the tree or palm creates a danger causing disruption to public utilities or services.
  3. Tree or palm is dead or beyond recovery due to disease, infection, infestation, damage or other condition from natural causes.
  4. Age of palm or tree is at 80 percent or more of the average lifecycle for its species as supported by the written findings of a certified arborist.
  5. Tree or palm is within a power line right-of-way or easement and cannot be properly pruned.
  6. Tree or palm is causing damage to a structure or site improvements used for vehicular traffic or utilities.
  7. Tree or palm is located on that portion of the site where structural or other construction or site development is proposed.
  • Required information needed for the application: 
  1. Description of each tree and palm proposed for removal or relocation, including DBH, height, and condition.
  2. Reasons for removal of tree or palm.
  3. Description of efforts to preserve the tree or palm. 
  4. Mitigation applicant proposes for trees requiring mitigation
  5. Tree location plan showing the trees proposed for removal, common/scientific name, and DBH 
  6. Location of existing and proposed improvements.

Tree Pruning:

No specimen tree, protected tree or palm, or tree or palm required by an approved site plan or landscape plan shall be subjected to topping, tipping or other excessive pruning practices. Any such pruning that causes the destruction or killing of such tree or palm or otherwise results in its removal is a violation of City of Vero Beach Tree Preservation Code and subject to the mitigation requirements and code enforcement. 

See Sec. 72.47, Pruning for code requirements for recommended palm trimming:

Other Resources: 


2013 Tree Preservation Ordinance