General Information

As part of its continuing efforts towards protecting large cacti and trees indigenous to the area, the City of Scottsdale adopted the Native Plant Ordinance (City Code, Chapter 46 , Article V) which applies city-wide. Protecting native plants also applies to both natural desert and landscaped areas.

Many desert trees and cacti are slow-growing and can take decades to reach maturity. Therefore, leaving such plants in place or salvaging them for incorporation into landscaping is beneficial both from a financial and feasible point-of-view.

Project Planning

Any request which affects plants from the list of protected plants (PDF) is required to submit a native plant program (PDF) detailing the existing location and proposed treatment of each protected plant impacted. Protected plants should, at the most optimal situation, remain in place. Those plants that must be moved are required to be salvaged unless the applicant can demonstrate how conditions such as poor health or orientation make successful relocation impossible. Salvaged plants are to be replanted within the project.

Single family projects are required to submit a native plant inventory report and site plan at the time of submittal for building plan reviews. Commercial projects are required to submit a native plant program (PDF) no earlier than the time of Development Review Board approval. A native plant permit is required to remove, relocate, or destroy any plant protected by the ordinance (PDF). Permits will not be issued unless submitted in conjunction with an approved or proposed development project. A permit will be issued after the native plant program has been approved.

ESL Overlay Requirements

The Protected Native Plant list differs from the list of Indigenous/Desert Appropriate Plants for ESL. Visit the ESL Overlay webpage to learn more information about the zoning regulations.

Inspection Process for Native Plants


After the native plant permit has been issued and prior to the commencement of salvage operations, the applicant shall schedule a #42 Pre-Site Inspection for both residential and commercial construction. Schedule an inspection by scanning the QR code on your permit with a mobile device or you can schedule online at You will need your permit number and key code to schedule.

At the time of the inspection, the applicant shall present a copy of the approved, stamped and signed native plant program to the inspector.


After plants have been relocated to the native plant nursery, the salvage contractor shall contact the inspector for a post-inspection of the nursery site and those plants that have been salvaged and those that have survived salvage operations.

At the time of the post-inspection, the salvage contractor shall present the inspector with a listing of those plant inventory numbers which have not survived salvage operations along with a completed Native Plant Tracking Form (PDF).

Each plant in the nursery shall have the inventory number and date it was side-boxed clearly visible on the box for inspection.

If plant loss has been greater than twenty percent (20%) the salvage contractor shall present the inspector with the reasons for said losses in writing.

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