Resources for Yard & Tree Work in Greensboro, NC
Having tree work done can be a big decision so it's important to be fully informed about any Greensboro regulations or services related to tree care and tree service. That includes debris removal programs and schedules, whether permits are required for tree work, local ordinances affecting tree removal and tree planting, and more.
We put this page together to help you ensure that any tree work you have done is done properly and in compliance with Greensboro regulations.
There are also tree-related programs and events that you may find helpful, as well as links to relevant city departments.
If you need tree removal, pruning or stump grinding in Greensboro, give us a call!
The Beaver Tree Service tree care professionals can safely remove your tree(s), eliminate tree stumps, prune and shape trees for health and beauty, and help your trees withstand storms.
Tree and yard work often depends on weather conditions. Know what the forecast is and check air quality measures before starting outdoor work.
This constantly-updated site tracks tree, grass, and ragweed pollen counts in Greensboro, NC so you can plan your outdoor time without aggravating your allergies.
This forecast for ozone and particulate matter gives you a good idea of what air quality in Greensboro is expected to be like over the next 3 days. Plan your time outdoors accordingly.
The Greensboro Urban Area has been re-designated from non-attainment to maintenance for Particulate Matter 2.5. The re-designation was made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and requires the MPO to analyze the impact of transportation projects on air quality.
The MPO specifically must show that the area will conform to federal air quality standards after transportation projects are completed. The analysis is based on environmental factors and the amount of projected vehicle travel on the roadway once projects are completed.
The MPO also takes steps to maintain the area's conformity with federal air quality standards and to ensure that the area's federally funded transportation projects remain on schedule. On a regional scale, the MPO coordinates and cooperates with other jurisdictions and agencies to implement long-term air quality improvements in the Piedmont Triad. Chapter 11 of the 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) includes additional information on the history of air quality for the Greensboro Urban Area.
Air Quality Links
- Triad Air Quality Conformity Determination Report (2040 MTP & 2016-2025 MTIP)
- Final Conformity Analysis and Determination Report for the Triad PM 2.5 Non-Attainment Area Amendment #1
- Final 2035 LRTP Update & 2012-2018 MTIP Air Quality Conformity Determination
- Final Triad PM 2.5 Air Quality Conformity Determination Report
Permits & Trees
First adopted in 1992 and amended several times (the last time in 2010), Greensboro's Landscaping and Tree Conservation Ordinance is designed to protect, preserve and restore one of the city's most valuable assets - trees.
What is the Landscaping and Tree Conservation Ordinance?
This ordinance is designed to protect, preserve and restore the City of Greensboro's trees.
If you're contemplating development of your property, check the Landscaping and Tree Conservation Manual first. It will help you comply with the Land Development Ordinance by providing illustrations of key text requirements. The illustrations and explanations are intended to help you understand the ordinance and suggest possible design alternatives.
The ordinance only applies to commercial, retail, and multi-family development within the City of Greensboro and requires developers to save a portion of trees on their property. The tree conservation ordinance does not apply to new single-family subdivisions or existing single-family residences. Additionally, the ordinance does not apply to North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) roadway projects.
City staff enforces the tree preservation ordinance. Other organizations such as Greensboro Beautiful can be advocates and help educate residents, but do not create or enforce ordinances.
A tree disturbance permit is an official authorization that must be issued by the City of Greensboro prior to any tree-disturbing activities.
Tree-disturbing activities include the cutting and/or damage to the critical root zone of live trees with a diameter at breast height of 4 inches or greater on sites not accompanied by a development plan, except as expressly exempted pursuant to Sec. 30-12-1.3.
If you are cutting trees on the property and the property is not exempt (see exemptions below), you will need to get a tree disturbance permit.
All of the following land disturbing activities are exempt from the tree conservation requirements and the tree disturbance permit requirements:
(A) Single-family detached, two-family attached or duplex dwellings on their own lots.
(B) Multi-family developments containing 8 or fewer dwelling units on a single zone lot.
(C) Properties within or surrounded by the CBD, Central Business District.
(D) Tree removal involving the disturbance of 3,000 square feet or less of critical root zone that is not inconsistent with any plan previously approved by the city or county. The Planning Director is authorized to require reasonable documentation that such removal is not associated with a forthcoming development proposal and will not be inconsistent with any plan previously approved by the city or county. Willful violations of the requirement to provide such documentation may result in the assessment of tree disturbance penalties in accordance with Sec. 30-5-5.5.
(E) Property covered by an active forestry management plan written by a North Carolina Registered Forester, provided documentation has been furnished to the Planning Director.
The City of Winston-Salem put together a Tree Preservation Checklist that includes a list of suggested plant material drawn from common trees and shrubs suitable for use in the Forsyth County area. These are all trees that will grow well here in Greensboro.
Call 811 before major tree work!
Big tree jobs, particularly stump grinding, tree removal and large pruning, can run into underground lines and utilities if they aren't marked.
Brush, Leaf & Yard Waste Disposal
Leaves, brush and other yard waste can be disposed of and/or collected by the City of Greensboro's Field Operations Department. Tree stumps, large branches, and tree trunks should be disposed of by your Greensboro tree care company.
North Carolina state law requires that yard waste is separated from trash and recycling. Yard waste is collected weekly on your regular garbage collection day. Use the guidelines below to ensure your yard waste is picked up.
Use your own 32-gallon trash can. Your can should have handles and a lid. Irregularly shaped containers may not be serviced. Filled cans should weigh no more than 50 pounds. If you were to place a lid on the can, all materials should be contained inside. Long branches protruding from the container may result in service denial.
Use only heavy duty clear plastic bags. Using black plastic bags, paper bags, and green recycling bags will result in non-collection. Filled bags must weigh less than 50 pounds.
Tie yard waste in bundles not more than five feet long and no heavier than 50 pounds.
Holiday Yard Waste
Did you know that Christmas trees are considered yard waste and will be picked up on your trash collection day? Be sure to remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree stands. Place your tree at the curb by 7 am on collection day. Trees more than five feet tall should be cut in half.
The Field Operations Department's annual Loose Leaf Collection Program takes place between November and early February.
In 2018/2019, more than 13,950 tons of leaves were collected by the city and made into compost to fertilize city gardens and landscaped areas. The leaf collection program also keeps leaves from blocking storm drains and prevents decaying leaves from polluting our lakes and streams.
How to Participate
While the Leaf Collection Program only operates in fall/winter, you can always use the City’s year-round yard waste program during the rest of the year. Simply put your leaves in clear plastic bags or in a plastic or metal garbage can, and set them at the curb on your regular trash collection day.
During the program, you can find out where your neighborhood is on the pick-up schedule by using this interactive map.
Remember, you MAY NOT burn leaves inside the Greensboro city limits.
Compost for Sale
You may purchase compost made from collected yard waste and leaves at the White Street Landfill, 2503 White Street. or by calling 336-373-CITY (2489).
N.C. State Law prohibits the disposal of yard waste (e.g., leaves, grass clippings, tree limbs, brush, etc.) in sanitary landfills. That means it cannot be thrown out with the regular trash. If your yard waste does not fit the normal trash pick up requirements, you can bring it to the White Street Landfill.
White Street Landfill
Address: 2503 White St., Greensboro, NC 27405 Directions
Hours: Mondays through Fridays from 7:50 am to 4:50 pm, and Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm
The cost of disposing of construction debris and yard waste is called a tipping fee and is charged by the ton. The White Street Landfill accepts construction and demolition (C&D) and yard waste at the following rates:
Cars: $10 per trip
All other vehicles: $31 per ton ($12 minimum; deposit required)
Please note: White Street Landfill customers will be required to leave a $150 deposit when bringing in large loads of construction debris at or after 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, or after 12:30 pm on Saturdays. White Street Landfill customers who return to the scale to weigh out after 5:20 pm Monday through Friday, or after 1:30 on Saturdays, will be charged a special handling fee of $150 per load, in addition to the applicable per ton tipping fee for disposal of their material.
Cars: $10 per trip
All other vehicles: $40 per ton ($12 minimum; deposit required)
The following items may not be disposed of at the White Street Landfill:
- municipal solid waste,
- residential, commercial and industrial waste,
- hazardous waste of any kind,
- medical waste,
- liquid waste,
- aluminum cans,
- fluorescent bulbs,
- electronic equipment and
- contaminated soil.
Christmas trees are considered yard waste and will be picked up on your normal collection day. Remove all tinsel, lights, decorations, tree stands and plastic bags from Christmas trees prior to collection. Trees more than five feet tall should be cut in half.
Q & A
Residential open burning (burning leaves, tree branches, yard trimmings, logs, and stumps that originate from your residence) is NOT allowed within the city limits.
It is allowed in Guilford County if you do not live within the city limits of Greensboro, High Point, Jamestown or Gibsonville, but what is allowed and when you are allowed to burn it is limited.
No, unless it weighs less than 50 pounds and can fit inside one of these options:
The City of Greensboro Tree-Related Departments
What is Urban Forestry?
Urban forestry is the cultivation and management of trees in and around the places we live -- cities, suburbs, and rural communities -- for their contribution to the environment, community, and economic well-being of society.
The City Arborist works in the Planning Department and administers the Landscaping and Tree Conservation ordinances, as well as other tree-related programs. For more information about the role of the City Arborist, visit the Tree FAQs page or contact the City Arborist at 336-373-2150.
What does an urban forestry program do for Greensboro?
- Serves as a leader for tree-awareness programs.
- Provides you with valuable information about tree care, reputable tree care companies, and how to comply with tree ordinances.
- Trains and supervises City crews or contractors on proper tree-trimming practices.
- Champions tree planting and preservation of existing trees when developers propose new projects.
- Evaluates trees on public property and rights-of-way for potential hazards.
>> Visit the Urban Forestry website
What does the Urban Forester do?
The Urban Forester, who works in the Planning Department, implements the City's Tree Conservation Ordinance and is generally responsible for handling all planning aspects of the urban forest. More specifically, the Urban Forester:
- Reviews development plans for compliance of the tree conservation ordinance
- Receives and addresses complaints about public trees
- Coordinates with other departments on tree planting and maintenance
- Provides advice to businesses and residents about tree care
- Supports Greensboro Beautiful Inc. and other nonprofit organizations to promote trees and enhance the urban forest
- Educates the public through brochures developed by organizations such as National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture
- Conducts workshops to educate residents, City employees, local tree care companies, and others
- Applies and administers grants to help fund urban forestry projects.
Greensboro Parks and Recreation Headquarters
1001 Fourth St., Greensboro, NC 27405
>> Visit the Recreation & Parks Department website
Tree-Related Programs & Events
This program provides Greensboro residents an opportunity to plant trees on City-owned property; public areas; streets; and front lawns in areas of their neighborhood where:
- trees have been damaged or lost to storms or disease;
- canopy cover is needed. Canopy tree replacement will be accomplished by utilizing open space and park land to replant larger trees to maintain canopy integrity;
- trees have been removed as part of ongoing vegetation management work associated with
- neighborhoods are active and organized, with a commitment to participate in the planting and longterm maintenance of the trees, consistently watering for the first three years.
The NeighborWoods Program is a partnership between Greensboro Beautiful, the City of Greensboro, the NC Cooperative Extension Service, affected property owners, and neighborhoods.
For more information on NeighborWoods events, visit the Greensboro Beautiful page.
Greensboro Beautiful is a nonprofit that coordinates garden enhancements, tree plantings, litter cleanups, free garden events and more.
1001 Fourth Street
Greensboro, NC 27405
In the past, Guilford County's Treasure Tree Program recognized the largest, rarest, oldest, and otherwise important tree species. The purpose of the program was to increase the public awareness of these valuable and irreplaceable trees, increase tree owners' awareness of the importance of trees, and encourage continued stewardship. The program was also designed to help protect all trees from indiscriminate removal or damage due to development and urbanization, and to stimulate awareness of the diversity, sensitivity and the importance of the tree canopy and roots.
Trees designated as treasure trees were:
- The most significant tree of their species. Size was determined by height, average crown spread, and circumference (at 4.5 feet) as set by the National Register of Big Trees
- Of historic, environmental or otherwise significant value
- Of a species, variety or cultivars proved to be relatively long-lived and adapted to our geographic region
- Of such health and condition, as judged by the Treasure Tree Committee, to have a reasonable prospect of continuing useful life
- Located on either public or private property within Guilford County.
By participating in a program which remembers loved ones, honors friends, and celebrates life’s milestones with the gift of a tree, citizens play an active role in keeping the “green” in Greensboro.
Donations to Greensboro Beautiful’s Memorial and Honor Gift Tree Program has enabled the organization to plant trees where needed in neighborhood parks, along city streets, in medians, and in other public areas for more than 40 years.
How It Works
- Purchase a gift tree, selecting the type from the options provided.
- Tell the program coordinator who to notify, and they’ll send a special note right away.
- Trees are planted in January, February, and March only. (Note: Gifts must be received before November 1st for trees to be planted during these months. Gifts received after this date are held and used to plant trees the following year.)
- General memorial and honor gift contributions in any amount may also be made, and will go toward Greensboro Beautiful’s Tree Fund. Special notes are sent for these gifts as well.
- Once the tree has been planted, both you and the recipient are notified
A Lasting Gift
Remember someone special, show your appreciation, or celebrate special occasions with a gift to the future. Contributions for gift trees are tax-deductible. For more information, call 336-373-2199.
>> Visit the Memorial and Honor Gift Tree Program website