Southwest Florida has an abundance of plant life; unfortunately, not all of them are welcome.
According to the Collier County Land Development Code Ordinance 04-41 section 4.06.05(E), exotic plant species are defined as noxious, invasive, cause environmental degradation to native habitats, or to be detrimental to human health, safety, or the public welfare.
Prohibited exotic vegetation specifically includes the following:
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Earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis)
Australian pine (Casuarina spp.)
Melaleuca (Melaleuca spp.)
Catclaw mimose (Minosa pigra)
Downy rosemyrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)
Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius)
Java plum (Syzygium cumini)
Women's tongue (Albizia lebbeck)
Climbing fern (Lygodium spp.)
Air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera)
Lather leaf (Colubrina asiatica)
Carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides)
For more information regarding Invasive Exotic Plant Species CLICK HERE.
Removal of Prohibited Exotic Vegetation
3.05.08 Requirement for Removal of Prohibited Exotic Vegetation is the section of our code that outlines the Collier County regulations for exotic vegetation. The following sections are particularly important:
1) Prohibited exotic vegetation removal and methods of removal shall be conducted in accordance with the specific provisions of each local development order.
2) Native vegetation shall be protected during the process of removing prohibited exotic vegetation, in accord with the provisions of section 3.05.04.
3) Prohibited exotic vegetation shall be removed from the following locations, and within the following timeframes:
a. From all rights-of-way, common area tracts not proposed for development and easements prior to preliminary acceptance of each phase of the required subdivision improvements.
b. From each phase of a site development plan prior to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for that phase.
c. From all golf course fairways, roughs, and adjacent open space/natural preserve areas prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the first permitted structure associated with the golf course facility.
d. From property proposing any enlargement of existing interior floor space, paved parking area, or substantial site improvement prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
4) In the case of the discontinuance of use or occupation of land or water or structure for a period of 90 consecutive days or more, property owners shall, prior to subsequent use of such land or water or structure, conform to the regulations specified by this section.
5) Verification of prohibited exotic vegetation removal shall be performed by the development services director's field representative.
6) Herbicides utilized in the removal of prohibited exotic vegetation shall have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Any person who supervises up to 8 people in the application of pesticides and herbicides in the chemical maintenance of exotic vegetation in preserves, required retained native vegetation areas, wetlands, or LSPA (Littoral Shelf Planting Area) shall maintain the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services certifications for Natural Areas Pesticide Applicators or Aquatic Herbicide Applicators dependent upon the specified area to be treated. When prohibited exotic vegetation is removed, but the base of the vegetation remains, the base shall be treated with an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved herbicide and a visual tracer dye shall be applied. (This does not apply to a homeowner treating their own property)
a. Exotic vegetation maintenance plan. A maintenance plan shall be submitted to the development services director for review on sites which require prohibited exotic vegetation removal prior to the issuance of the local development order. This maintenance plan shall describe specific techniques to prevent reinvasion by prohibited exotic vegetation of the site in perpetuity. This maintenance plan shall be implemented on a yearly basis at a minimum. Issuance of the local development order shall be contingent upon approval of the maintenance plan. Noncompliance with this plan shall constitute violation of this section. The development services director's field representative shall inspect sites periodically after issuance of the certificate of occupancy, or other final acceptance, for compliance with this section. (This section pertains to Commercial, PUD’s, and any development that requires a site development plan)
b. Applicability to new structures and to additions on single-family and two-family lots. In addition to the other requirements of this section, the applicant shall be required to remove all prohibited exotic vegetation before a certificate of occupancy is granted on any new principal or accessory structure and any additions to the square footage of the principal or accessory structures on single-family or two-family lots. This shall not apply to tents, awnings, cabanas, utility storage sheds, or screened enclosures not having a roof impervious to weather. This shall not apply to interior remodeling of any existing structure. The removal of prohibited exotic vegetation shall be required in perpetuity. Upon issuance of a vegetation removal permit, prohibited exotic vegetation may be removed from lots which are zoned residential single-family (RSF), estates (E), village residential (VR), and mobile home (MH), prior to issuance of a building permit.