Greenspace Management Division
The Greenspace Management Division oversees the daily maintenance of Houston’s parkland, esplanades, greenspaces, and urban forest. The division also maintains greenspace for certain city facilities, including Houston Public Libraries and Health Department Multi-Service Centers.
To provide greater accountability and service, the division’s job duties are divided into seven sections: Grounds Maintenance; Urban Forestry; Sportsfield Management; Horticulture; Greenspace Adoption; Court Restitution and Community Service; and Lake Houston Wilderness Park.
To report the need for greenspace or forestry maintenance, please contact the 311 Houston Service Center or submit your request online at the following link (click here for 311 link).
Grounds Maintenance crews are responsible for grass mowing, brush clearing, litter removal and the maintenance of COH parkland and greenspace. Crews maintain parkland, esplanades, sportsfields, trails, COH Health Department multi-service centers, and Houston Public Library greenspace. All parks are de-littered on a 3 day cycle. During the growing season, March 1 through October 31, parks are mowed on a 21 day mowing cycle. During the dormant season, November 1 through April 30, parks are mowed on a monthly basis or as needed.
Ballfield/Sportsfield Management crews are responsible for the general upkeep of COH sportsfields. They inspect and maintain fields that are not adopted by youth sports leagues. Adopted fields are maintained by the group that has adopted them.
Urban Forestry oversees the City of Houston's urban forest. This includes the planting, pruning and, when necessary, removal of trees from parks, esplanades and all city-owned property. Urban Forestry will trim trees for height clearance issues and will remove dead or hazardous trees on street rights of way. Please Note: COH Urban Foresters or their representatives are only authorized to work on City of Houston Property. Citizens should contact a professional arborist or tree service regarding trees on their private property, except for city rights of way.
Trees planted on city property (which include trees planted on rights of way, medians, parks and other city property) are protected by a Tree Protection Ordinance contained in sections V and VI of Chapter 33 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances. A permit is required to remove any tree on city property or on a setback. Please check with the 311 Houston Service Center for specifics before proceeding with your plans for building or renovating a house, driveway or other project involving trees adjacent to a street. The requirements for commercial properties are more specific in regards to trees and shrubs, and the ordinance is available for clarification. It provides standards for planting trees and shrubs and landscaping buffers, and protects Houston's greenery by offering incentives to property owners who preserve and care for existing trees. City Council has been given the power to designate a green corridor to consist of rights of way of a major thoroughfare and building setback areas of abutting and adjacent properties in order to enhance the beauty of our city. Within the corridor, existing trees are given enhanced protection and the varieties of acceptable new trees are listed. The ordinance requires any tree removal in the corridor to be authorized by city permit, and the tree must be replaced by a specifically stated formula. This applies to trees affected by new construction or renovation of existing structures or parking lots.
Houston has been a Tree City since 1986. The Tree City USA designation is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. This recognition is awarded to cities that have met four standards: 1) Created a tree board or department, 2) Passed a tree care ordinance, 3) Created a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2.00 per capita and 4) Hold an annual Arbor Day observation and a proclamation. By meeting these standards, the City of Houston has created a foundation from which to promote and enhance our urban forest. It demonstrates to the world that we value our trees and the benefits they bring to our environment.
To report a city tree that needs attention, please contact the 311 Houston Service Center. Please note: a city forester will evaluate all trees before any work is done.
The Horticulture Section oversees and maintains the flower beds and gardens located on H.P.A.R.D. properties. Horticulturists operate the Memorial Park Greenhouse to cultivate plants for use in park flower beds. In addition, this section oversees projects involving the beautification of city property, including the annual Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Tribute Planting Project, the Urban Garden Project, the landscaping of the Japanese Garden at Hermann Park, and oversite management of the C.O.H. Natural Areas Ordinance 32-10.
Greenspace Adoption oversees and coordinates the adoption of C.O.H. parks, sports fields, esplanades, parks, trails and greenspaces. H.P.A.R.D.’s Adoption Programs are a great way to show your pride and commitment to Houston’s parks and green spaces. Whether you’re with a group or business interested in active community involvement, we have a program that will fit your desire to improve the quality of our park system and public land. There are 5 different Adoption Programs for you to choose from: Adopt-A-Park, Adopt-An-Esplanade, Adopt-A-Sports Field, Adopt-A-Trail and Adopt-A-Library Greenspace. Regardless of the program you choose, your involvement helps us maintain green spaces that we’re all proud of!
- Adopt-A-Park - This adoption program welcomes homeowners associations and civic groups interested in providing long-term support for the maintenance and aesthetic quality of a park. Term of agreement minimum of 2 years.
- Adopt-A-Sports Field - This adoption program welcomes organizations who wish to adopt a sports field in lieu of paying permitting fees associated with the use of ballfields. This adoption is available for youth leagues only. The term is for 6 months, Jan-June and July-December. The adoptee is responsible for all maintenance related to the sports field for the entire 6 month period.
- Adopt-An-Esplanade - This adoption program welcomes organizations, homeowners associations and civic groups interested in providing long term support for the maintenance and aesthetic quality of esplanades/medians. Term is perpetual provided adoptee maintains esplanades/medians free of trash, mowed and edged.
- Adopt-A-Trail - This adoption program welcomes civic groups interested in providing long-term support for the maintenance and aesthetic quality of a portion of a trail. Term is a 2 year minimum.
- Adopt-A-Library Greenspace - This adoption program welcomes homeowners associations and civic groups interested in providing long-term support for the maintenance and aesthetic quality of library grounds. Term of agreement minimum of 2 years.
For information on how your group or business can participate in this program, contact Marilu De La Fuente, Greenspace Adoption Coordinator at (832) 395-7029 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Court Restitution and Community Service offers work sites and oversight of probationers who have been sentenced to community service work. The additional hours offered by this partnership enable the department to maintain parkland and greenspace while maximizing its budget dollars.
Houston Wild supports the efforts of local gardeners and home owners who develop wildlife habitat on their property. The program manager gives guidance and tips to promote the plants, animals, and birds that live all around us and to have a certified wildlife habitat in your yard.
Lake Houston Wilderness Park is the only park in the H.P.A.R.D. system where overnight camping is available. This 4,786.6-acre wilderness park is approximately 30 minutes north of downtown Houston off of Highway 59 near the town of New Caney. Cabins and walk-in campsites are available for rental. Activities include hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, and horseback riding (Bring your own bikes, watercraft, and horses). The park is a wilderness park and is heavily forested, so visitors need to be aware that wildlife in the park includes several species of snakes. (more)