A tree inventory is crucial for making management decisions and planning regarding trees that require removal or pruning to minimize risk. It also provides information on the volume of trees situated in the public right-of-way, the volume of available planting locations, and the significance of ecosystem services that trees offer. 

A tree inventory also helps to identify disease problems, insect invasion, and young trees that need pruning, irrigation, and other maintenance. The information gathered from such an inventory will provide the tree commissions with a guide on planning, budgeting, and prioritizing maintenance work, plantings, and tree removals. 

What is the Tree Inventory Process?

There are four stages involved in the tree inventory process. They include Planning, Implementation, Application, and Maintenance. In this section, we will look at each stage carefully.


This is the stage when the commission needs to identify the specific information that is required and how such information will be utilized. They need to evaluate the availability of software, computers, and people required to maintain the inventory. 

Also, this is the stage to determine the technique of data collection to use, such as walking or driving. Additionally, the team needs to evaluate the required equipment, funding, and labor for the tree inventory project.


Tree inventory

The next stage in the tree inventory process is the implementation stage. This is when the training of people for data collection is required. At this stage, the team must gather data and verify the data collectors’ accuracy. During this phase, they also need to input and store the gathered data in a GIS or computer system.


This part involves the analysis of data usage of the information gathered. The commission must establish the objectives for tree planting and removal to increase age and species diversity. They need to also prepare annual work plans and budgets for planting, pruning, and removal.


This is the final stage of this project. At this point, there is a need for tree re-inventory to sustain the information that has been gathered. It may also require a constant update of information when tree work is being completed and when permits are issued. 

It is crucial to observe these phases to ensure that subsequent planning based on the inventory is optimal.

How to Collect Data for Tree Inventory

The only method of collecting the required data is by inspecting individual trees and documenting the information gathered. The team involved in the data collection must establish the extent to which the community will be measured and inventoried. 

Additionally, they have to decide the areas that will first be completed and the group of people that will gather the data, such as consultants, staff, interns, or volunteers. The type of information required must also be established by the time. 

When the decisions have been made, the municipalities will determine how the insights from the data will be analyzed, used, and maintained. The tree inventory data is often stored in Access, Excel, or other software. The highlights of data fields that are usually collected and used during a tree inventory project include:

  • Location and name of the tree species
  • The tree’s trunk diameter
  • The tree’s condition, whether good, poor, fair or dying/dead
  • Trees requiring urgent removal, pruning, or maintenance
  • Quality and location of potential tree planting
  • Possible constraints on planting locations, such as narrow tree lawns and utility wires
  • Extent and location of damaged trees on curbs and sidewalks


Different organizations are responsible for carrying out tree inventories. Communities can contact these organizations and contact local consulting foresters and arborists who can help them complete such inventories. A part tree inventory will result in a better idea of the conditions of the trees and forest in a community.