Heritage Tree Program

Man Standing Beneath an Enormous TreePreserving Williamsburg's Trees

Heritage Trees, whether located on public or private property, are distinct and unique living resources of the Williamsburg community. The Heritage Tree Ordinance (#010-08) (PDF) was adopted by City Council on June 10, 2010, establishing the Williamsburg Heritage Tree Program (PDF). The purpose of the program is to identify, promote awareness, maintain, and protect designated Heritage Trees located within the City now and for future generations.

Heritage Tree Program Goals

  • Establish a process of designating Heritage Trees located on either public or private property
  • Encourage proper maintenance, care and protection of Heritage Trees
  • Inform and educate the public regarding the notable tree resources in the City
  • Increase public awareness of the environmental benefit of Heritage Trees and trees in general

Heritage Tree Categories

Heritage Trees

  • Heritage Tree: Notable historic or cultural interest
  • Memorial Tree: Commemorating memorial to a person, location or event
  • Specimen Tree: Notable by virtue of its outstanding size and quality for its particular species
  • Street Tree: Notable grove or avenue

Some Heritage Trees May Also Qualify as Champions

  • Champion Tree: Largest tree in the Commonwealth or U.S.

Examples of current Heritage Trees in Williamsburg are online.

Incentives to Participate in the Heritage Tree Program

The City provides the following incentives to encourage private property owners to preserve and protect Designated Heritage Trees:

  • A Heritage Tree plaque for designated trees
  • With the permission of the owner, the City will include a picture of the tree on the City website
  • Recommendations regarding the proper care and maintenance of a Designated Heritage Tree:
    • Pruning: The City will consult with the Owner regarding acceptable pruning methods and techniques. A Designated Heritage Tree may be pruned by the Owner. The Owner is encouraged to trim a Designated Heritage Tree in accordance with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) standards so that the pruning would not reduce the tree's height or crown diameter, alter the tree's general appearance, increase the tree's susceptibility to insects or disease or otherwise increase its risk of mortality.
    • Removal or Damage: If considering removal or an action that would damage a designated Heritage Tree, the City will, upon request, consult with the Owner regarding possible alternatives to address the condition(s) necessitating removal or potential damage to the tree.