Trees, solar power, water conservation, and more

As the days grow longer and the summer sun starts shining, Hillsborough County Development Services wants residents to have a fun, Earth-friendly season!

Tree planting and pruning

With summer comes warmer weather and extended daylight hours, which is ideal for planting trees to spruce up homes in an environmentally friendly way. Keep in mind that if you are planting a required tree, such as a street tree or shade tree, you must ensure the trees you have are from County-approved lists. Development Services also has a handy guide on responsible pruning techniques, which will keep your tall, branchy plants thriving.

Still unsure of how to care for your trees? A certified arborist is a great resource. Note that Grand Oaks are subject to more extensive regulations due to their prominence and environmental importance. Suspect that a tree is being illegally removed? Use HillsGovHub to look up the approved tree permits.

Local schools are also getting into the planting spirit. "Happy Earth Day!" yelled Frost Elementary School second graders after helping to plant a tree on Arbor Day, April 26. The students received a presentation from Hillsborough County's Sustainability, Resiliency, and Mitigation team about the importance of trees and the roles they play in mitigating hurricane-related storm surge and extreme heat. Watch the video of the tree planting ceremony.

Find additional tree resources.

Solar panels

Florida is called the "Sunshine State" for good reason! Many homeowners look to take advantage of the abundance of sunlight by installing solar panels because they are a great way to power a home using green energy. If you are interested in getting solar panels installed, just remember that a permit is required. A solar contractor can apply for one on the HillsGovHub portal.

Water conservation

Are you looking to use the summer months to remodel or build a new home? If so, remember that rebates may be available if the products used will help to conserve water. Check out Tampa Bay Water Wise, which can assist with information and applications regarding rebates.

Not building or remodeling a home? No problem! There are resources available so you can still play your part to help conserve water (while potentially saving money at the same time).

Hillsborough County has year-round watering days and hours. Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has issued a Phase I Water Shortage Order through July 1, 2024, because of prolonged drought conditions. Residents can currently only water their lawns one day a week. The irrigation restrictions are for all water users in Hillsborough County. Learn more about watering restrictions.

Wetland conservation

Hillsborough County is home to many unique biospheres, especially the amazing wetlands. In fact, all development activity in the county is regulated to help preserve the integrity of these delicate wetlands. Any project with the potential to affect a wetland area will also be subject to a review by the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).

Everyone has a role in protecting these valuable ecosystems, so if a potential violation of wetland conservation area is suspected, please report it to the EPC.