Atlanta's Urban Forest

Why Native Trees?    

The Tree Conservation Commission recommends planting trees native to the Piedmont, or foothills region, of the eastern United States (which includes Atlanta) wherever possible. Native trees are adapted to local growing conditions and ecosystems and often perform best over the long run. They also give the region its distinct natural identity.

The Tree Conservation Commission encourages the planting of native overstory trees where space allows. These native beauties include: White oak, Quercus alba; Southern red oak, Quercus falcata;
Bitternut hickory, Carya cordiformis; Tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera; American beech, Fagus grandifolia; and many others.

The City's Recommended Tree Planting List also includes many non-native tree species that are adapted well to this area and the unique stresses of urban environments. Exotic trees that exhibit invasive properties and are known to compete with native species are not included on the list. The best approach for selecting a tree to plant is to evaluate sunlight, soil volume and quality, water sources, and other physical conditions of the site. For additional recommended overstory and understory trees, and trees suitable to specific conditions, see the City of Atlanta's Recommended Tree Planting List.

Native Trees of Atlanta and Surrounding Piedmont

Native Trees of Atlanta and Surrounding Piedmont posters (24” x 36”) are available free of charge at the City of Atlanta Arborist Division, 404-330-6874.

What Not to Plant

The City of Atlanta Tree Ordinance exempts the following trees which have invasive qualities or undesirable growth habits from some requirements of the tree ordinance. These trees, if 12 inches
or smaller DBH and located on private property, are exempt from the posting, replacement, and recompense portions of the ordinance: Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin; tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima; White mulberry, Morus alba; Paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera; Chinaberry, Meliaazederach; Princess tree, Paulownia tomentosa; Carolina cherry laurel, Prunus caroliniana; Bradford pear, Pyrus calleryana; and Leyland cypress, x Cupressocyparis leylandii.

Where such species of tree is larger than 12 inches DBH on private property, the owner need not post the tree, and need only replace the tree or pay recompense if the tree cover on the lot from which the tree is removed is less than the minimum tree cover per zoning district [per Section 158-103(g) of the ordinance]. For more information about exotic plants to avoid, see the Georgia Exotic Plant Pest Council.

 Historic and Landmark Trees     Recommended Tree Planting List   Benefits of the Urban Forest