Development Services
Tree Preservation

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Cliff Morton Development and Business Services Center
1901 South Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78204

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Preserving Our Natural Habitat

The City of San Antonio continuously strives to set standards that serve to improve the overall health and well-being of its residents. Along with overseeing the development and improvement of land, it is the responsibility of the Development Services Department, under the guidelines of the Landscaping and Tree Preservation Ordinance, to maintain, preserve and add to the existing tree population. The goals of the Landscaping and Tree Preservation Ordinance are to enhance the aesthetic environment, to provide health benefits to our community, and to continue to provide elements essential to establish and maintain a strong ecosystem. In order to assist with meeting these goals, the City provides incentives to encourage the maximum preservation of trees.  

Under the Tree Preservation Ordinance, prior to any development of property, a tree permit must be obtained. Development activities that remove trees and disturb vegetation require a Tree Preservation Plan be submitted with the Tree Permit application. Under certain circumstances tree permits can be issued in lieu of a preservation plan by completing a tree affidavit/permit application and submitting required information and fees. 

In an effort to improve the appearance and value of properties and to promote character within our City, the ordinance also provides requirements for Zoning Buffers, Landscaping, Streetscape Planting Standards and Fences. Please refer to the Unified Development Code for the specific regulations covered under the ordinance.

The resources below have been provided to assist you in complying with the ordinance. Should you have any questions regarding the permitting and/or preservation process, you can contact our Tree Preservation department at 210.207.0278. For additional information on obtaining a Tree permit, please refer to the Permit Section for either Residential or Commercial.

CPS Energy is currently offering a Green Shade Tree Rebate program to partner with the San Antonio Community to promote planting trees all over our City from 10/1/2017 thru 04/30/18.  Refer to CPS Energy Green Shade Tree Rebate for more information.

Forms & Applications:


Tree Maintenance License and Registration

In order to apply for a Tree Maintenance License you will need the following:

  • Tree Maintenance License and Registration Application
  • Government Issued Photo Identification
  • Proof of Continuing Education Credits (see below)
  • License and Registration Fees: 1-year $75.00 * 3-year $165.00 ** If ISA Certified Arborist need valid card or certificate for 50% fee reduction of fee.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance with the City of San Antonio listed as the Certificate Holder. Proof of General Liability Insurance, minimum $300.000.00.

*Proof of 2 hour introductory class on: safety, Oak Wilt, tree biology, tree pruning and tree identification.
**Proof of fifteen (15) hours of continuing education credits (e.g. certificates, course transcripts, certification card, etc).

For continuing education information for City of San Antonio issued Tree Maintenance Licenses, please contact Monica Reyes-Urdiales. To see if Development Services is currently offering any continuing education classes please visit the Training Section of our website.

Forms & Applications:


In April 2016, the City of San Antonio (COSA) officially became a Tree City USA. This program offers direction, assistance and national recognition for our community and a framework for sustainable tree programs, initiatives, and ordinances.

Recognition as a Tree City USA provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of having a healthy and well maintained tree canopy throughout our community,” said Rod Sanchez, Director of Development Services Department (DSD). “Learning proper care for our trees, their value and benefits will safeguard and enhance the quality of life we all enjoy in San Antonio.”

Started in 1976, Tree City USA is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Services and National Association of State Foresters. An incorporated municipality of any size can qualify by meeting these four fundamental standards:

  • A Tree Board or Department that protects, preserves, plants and maintains city trees – COSA created the Tree Preservation Section in 1997, 
  • A tree care ordinance
  •  A community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita 
  • An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation 

The City created a Tree Preservation team in 1997, in conjunction with the first Tree Preservation Ordinance approved by City Council that same year. Today, the City Arborist manages a staff of 13 under the umbrella of DSD. In a city with an estimated 1.4 million residents, the city’s Development Services, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works departments have an annual estimated combined budget of $3.4 million dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of trees in the city. This investment by the city includes community outreach programs to raise public awareness about the value and benefits provided by a healthy and diverse tree canopy. Trees benefit our city by reducing energy costs and consumption, boosting property values, increasing stronger connectivity and sense of community. The City of San Antonio is now one of the more than 3,400 towns and cities across the nation recognized as a Tree City USA.

Oak Wilt is a deadly fungal disease that infects and disables the water-conducting system in oak trees.  All Oaks are susceptible to this disease, but some species more than others.  With no known cure, methods to control and treatments are expensive and not guaranteed.

Oak Wilt is prevalent in Central Texas and spreads both above and below ground.  Fungal mats develop under the bark on the trunks and major branches of infected Red oak trees.  When the fungal mat enlarges and cracks the bark of the tree, an odor is released that attracts sap-feeding beetles.  The fungus is transmitted when these beetles feed on the fungal mats and carry fungal spores to fresh wounds or cuts on healthy oak trees.  Because oak trees have interconnected roots, the disease can be spread below ground through grafted root systems, eventually killing great numbers of oak trees in the area.

Trees are an important public resource that enhance the quality of life, add value to properties and reduce energy costs and pollutants.  Our City Arborist has some tips you can follow to help prevent Oak Wilt in your neighborhood:

  • Minimize pruning oak trees between February 1 and July 1.  This is when the Oak Wilt fungus is most active.
  • Best time to prune trees is either in the middle of the summer, when temperatures are the hottest, or in late fall/early winter months when temperatures can be the coldest.
  • Paint all cuts and wounds on oak trees within 30 minutes.
  • Remove Red Oaks identified with Oak Wilt.
  • Know where your firewood comes from.  Don't transport unseasoned firewood from diseased Red Oaks.
  • Make sure contractors doing tree pruning have a valid, city issued tree maintenance license and proper training.

If you suspect Oak Wilt in your neighborhood, contact the Texas Forest Service at (830) 792-8885.

Oak Preservation Project
Oak Wilt Prevention and Control Ordinance Presentation

For additional recommendations and information visit the TFS Texas Oak Wilt.Org website:

Eight Step Program to Oak Wilt Management: