Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby CamilleSummer » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:31 pm

I am always interested in finding out what landscape architects think about their local landscape codes and tree ordinances. Helpful? Headache? Problematic? Important for the profession? Way too complex? The worst thing that ever happened to me? Mine is a good one, this is why![/b]
Prof. Buck Abbey
Associate Editor, Landscape Architect and Specifier News Magazine
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby outfox » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:18 am

I'm encouraged to see that there are LA's visiting this site! :D From a green goods sales perspective, Codes and Ordinances, like all "laws" are always a good idea in theory, but when put into practice can hinder the ultimate goal of long term aesthetics which they were made to help create. Perhaps we need to make sure that the author of the code has solid experience in the aspect the code is written for?
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby Acerohombre » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:08 pm

I'm new to this site but I'll post in case anyone reads my response (as this topic is a few years old). Most ordinances aren't complex to understand. However, the expectations for planting requirements are usually not realistic. In many cases due to restrictions associated with the site design itself, utility locations, stormwater management, etc or even due to the ordinance hands are tied as to the planting locations and material that can be used within those areas. The plant palette is often reduced substantially. Conversely, I've also seen an ordinance so strict about plant numbers required it has a negative impact on the site. In both cases, I'd say that it's trees and not so much the shrubs that cause the problem. I did a car dealership planting plan that comes to mind where it was required to have a double row of trees and a continuous row of shrubs at the front of the lot. Due to the nature of the site this dealership is eventually going to have to have their potential customers look through a "forest" of plantings just to catch a glimpse of the products (cars) being offered. Clustering trees would look much better than spacing them every 30-40' and would have been a nice compromise solution but I can't do that and spacing doesn't look "natural". What everyone ultimately wants is a location that's open for business but if you don't sell cars (in this case) because the site isn't inviting then nobody gains. That means no taxes for the City/County. The main issue that I have with shrubs is height at planting. Many times it's a challenge to try and find shrubs that would be 24-36" at time of planting. Same for trees when it is required to have min 3" caliper tree not to mention that transplanting larger trees may not be as successful as planting smaller trees. What ultimately happens is that you have to specify plants that are bigger which usually means they grow faster and plants with faster growth rates typically have shorter life spans. In ten years who knows what it will look like. We as designers will more times than not provide a plan that would provide an attractive, professional looking site so I think that it's more important to mandate a professional designer prepare plans rather than to mandate planting requirements. A bad planting plan doesn't please anyone, client, City/County, customers/public, or even the designer.
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby Acerohombre » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:14 pm

Let me add too that for the most part that's why I am on this site (nice site, btw). When I have to find a certain size tree or shrub because the ordinance/requirement states that I have to have it, I'll look before on a site such as this to make sure that it's available before I place it on the planting schedule.
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby knesbitt » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:18 pm

Well said I feel the same way. I am always faced with the task of finding plant material that is specified but just does not exist. I feel that before the city or county building dept. approve these plans they know what the nurseries and tree farms have available.
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby CamilleSummer » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:40 pm

More on Landscape Codes and Green Laws
Acerohombre and others.
Your comments on community green laws and how they apply, or do not properly apply makes a lot of sense to me. What I have found over my 30 years of research into the topic of green laws is that very often these codes are prepared by 'cut and paste' from other enacted community regulations by those kin folk of ours who work in planning departments. These folks do in fact seek input from local experts but often end up functioning with limited or no input from local professionals. For any local code to be effective local experts must assist in their shaping and crafting. The planners will welcome your input and expertise.

There are some fundamental problems with these codes many of which date back to the ancient 1970's. For the most part these codes are based upon numbers. That is numbers of plants, spacing requirements, density recognition and of course cost. As you you point out, and as I often see, the numbers of trees required on development sites to too high, and space available for root extension is way too low.

The drafting of codes is changing but very slowly, also due to cut and paste. At some point, Louisiana and other states will realize that codes need to address sustainability, not numbers.

When will that day come?
BA
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby RootAnchor » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:23 am

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Attachments
City of Tyler Ordinance.png
Tyler, Texas Below Grade Tree Staking Odinance.
City of Tyler Ordinance.png (102.84 KiB) Viewed 33596 times
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Re: Landscape Codes and Tree Ordinances

Postby lieblchxejfa » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:40 am

:D
Attachments
City of Tyler Ordinance.png
City of Tyler Ordinance.png (102.84 KiB) Viewed 26400 times
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