City of Colorado Springs / Forestry / Colorado Springs & Trees / Significant Trees Program

Significant Trees Program

In the late 1800s, street tree planting programs were initiated by the city's founder, General William Jackson Palmer.
General William Jackson Palmer

Colorado Springs has a rich heritage in trees which can be traced back to the beginning of our community. In the late 1800s, street tree planting programs were initiated by the city's founder, General William Jackson Palmer. Similar efforts continue today through programs such as GreenSprings, park and street tree plantings and the Decade of Trees and New Home Tree Programs.

While all trees in the urban forest improve the city environment, significant trees demand particular attention, respect and care. They give special character to the urban forest and provide landmarks around which our community grows. In an effort to recognize and preserve these landmarks, the significant tree policy was formulated to help perpetuate the heritage begun by General Palmer.


The program applies both to trees growing on park lands and properties managed by the City of Colorado Springs and can include trees growing on private properties and other properties not owned or managed by the City of Colorado Springs. We encourage the designation of significant trees on private property, but the nomination must be approved by the property owner. If private property changes ownership, a re-designation of the tree will be required.

What makes a tree significant?

  • A tree associated with events that have made a significant contribution to patterns of the city's history; and/or
  • Associated with the lives of people significant in our city's past; and/or
  • Have a particular and strong sentimental value to a neighborhood; and/or
  • On the state or national big tree register; and/or
  • Of botanical, aesthetic, or ecological significance.

Significant Tree Designation
1. Minimum standards:

  • Life expectancy of more than 10 years.
  • Must have a sound trunk.
  • No more than 30% deadwood should be present.
  • No more than minor insect/disease problem.

2. Criteria:

  • Size (e.g. On national big tree register).
  • Rare (e.g. Lacebark pine Champion)
  • Age (e.g. 900 yr. old one-seed juniper in Garden of the Gods)
  • Memorial / tribute tree (e.g. Living tree memorials)
  • Historic (e.g. The 13 colony trees in south monument park planted by Daughters Of The American Colonists in 1948).
  • Specimen groupings/ecosystems (e.g. The one seed junipers in Dakota Ridge subdivision).
  • Uniqueness (e.g. A tree which is demonstrated to have a strong sentimental value to a neighborhood).

Special Care and Protection

Significant trees growing on park lands and properties owned or managed by the City of Colorado Springs shall receive special care and protection to insure optimum health. Upon the removal of any of these significant trees, the Parks and Recreation Department tree replacement policy shall be implemented.

How can I designate a tree?

Anyone may nominate a tree for designation. The forestry staff will review nominations which will include a field review to determine eligibility according to established criteria. The City Forester will submit tree nominee(s) to the Director of Parks and Recreation for formal designation.

If the tree is designated as a significant tree, it will be placed on the significant tree roster, maintained by the City Forester. Thereafter, the tree will be recognized as a prominent landmark in the community. All new designations will be presented and officially announced on Arbor Day.