Greenville's  Trees

Rooted in Greenville: The Tree Plan

To protect and enhance the natural environment and aesthetic beauty of our community, the City is actively working to preserve existing trees and promote tree planting efforts citywide. An ongoing public awareness campaign – including tree giveaway events – encourages city residents to plant trees on private property.

Open Space Fund

A new tree ordinance passed by City Council in 2021 established regulations for property owners to either re-plant trees removed from private property or pay a fee to the Open Space Fund. As of August 2023, the fund balance stands at $1.1 million. The funds will be used to:

  • Actively find and purchase land within the city limits where trees can be planted
  • Fund landscaping and trees at affordable housing projects, and
  • Expand tree giveaways for planting on private land

Help Us Find a Home for More Trees

City staff also would like residents' help to identify areas where trees could be planted. If your neighborhood has space in the public right-of-way (such as the space between sidewalks and roads), please contact the neighborhood engagement manager.

Growing Trees in greenville

Before planting a tree on your private property, consider the following factors:

  1. Research: Make sure the type of tree is compatible with your wants and needs.
  2. Moisture: Check the drainage pattern of the planting site.
  3. Light: Determine how many hours of direct sunlight the planting site receives.
  4. Space: Consider the amount of space available, both above and around, the planting site.
  5. Temperature: Choose trees that are appropriate for your Hardiness Zone.

30-20-10 Rule 

Striving to hit the 30-20-10 rule means no more than 30% from one family tree, 20% from one genus and 10% from any one species. Diversifying the tree Family-Genius-Species will mitigate loss due to invasive insects or disease. The City of Greenville is working on a tree inventory list to identify what the city has and what type of trees the area needs to add into the landscape. The City takes into consideration what is lacking on City owned property and will plant those as much as possible. 

What is a Tree Canopy?

A tree canopy is the amount of foliage that covers the ground from trees. A well-placed tree can provide a lot of tree canopy. Example in Holmes Park, the tree canopy of the large live oak covers a tenth of an acre while the playground area is not quite a tenth of an acre.

tree canopy

Why is Urban Canopy so important?

1. Climate Control: The built environment with materials like asphalt, brick, stone and concrete will produce a heat island effect making cities 1 to 3 degrees warmer than rural areas. This is caused from materials absorbing heat during the day and slowly releasing the heat over the cooler night temperatures. The shade of trees keeps these materials from capturing heat and as the trees transpire, they cool the area even more. This lowers energy cost for cooling buildings and increases the longevity of road conditions.

2. Carbon Sequestration and Pollution Control: Trees use carbon dioxide in their respiration and photosynthesis process. They store this food to grow and capture this carbon as wood fibers. Trees can remove up to 60% of air pollution at street level including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfuric dioxide, and particulate matter like ash, dust, pollen and smoke.

3. Social and Health benefits: Studies have shown that trees can reduce crime rates, build stronger communities, improve public health (both physical and mental), increase success of business districts, slow vehicle traffic and encourage pedestrian traffic, and increase property values. Air quality can help individuals that suffer from asthma and people that have views of green space tend to be healthier while experiencing 23% less sick time.

4. Storm Water Mitigation: Trees intercept storm water by catching it with their leaves and slow the rate of flow to the ground surface. If over a pervious surface, this can allow time for the soil to absorb the rainfall and reduce runoff and erosion. If over an impervious surface, this can slow the flow of water to the storm water system and keep the rivers from flash flooding.

Various trees: Black Gum, Red Oak, Redbud, Serviceberry, Foster Holly, Southern Magnolia

Download Planting Resources

Growth Guide

Guide to Tree Growth in Greenville

Planting Guide

A Guide to Planting Trees