Florida Mangroves and Trimming
Mangroves are tropical trees that are restricted to the calm intertidal areas of Florida where temperatures do not usually drop below freezing for prolonged periods. They generally exist south of St. Augustine on the east coast, and from Cedar Key south on the West Coast. There are three species of mangroves in Florida: Red Mangrove, White Mangrove, and Black Mangrove. They are generally not found in freshwater systems due to competition with other species, and other factors.
Mangroves provide many benefits to us and our environment. Some of benefits include: resistance of shoreline erosion; food habitat for marine food chain; improvement of water quality; and protection of homes from severe wind damage.
Due to the rapid growth of mangroves and the potential dense thickets, many property owners choose to cut their mangroves to improve the view of the water. While this may maximize the view, if not done correctly could cause unintentional harm and/or killing of the mangroves. Because of the environmental benefits and the potential harm of unregulated trimming, the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act of 1996 was developed to protect and control the trimming and alteration of mangroves statewide.
The Act of 1996 created very specific guidelines which are regulated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Requirements include a either a General Permit (GP) or an Individual Permit (IP), unless the activity qualifies for one or more of the mangrove trimming exemptions for homeowners. Learn more about Mangrove Trimming Exemptions.
Hans Wilson & Associates works with our clients on a regular basis to ensure compliance with environmental agencies when trimming, removing, or mitigation for mangroves. Call us for more information regarding what can and cannot be trimmed, removed or mitigated.
Red Mangroves stand apart from the other species of mangroves in that they:
- live in deepest salt-water of the three, going from a few inches to over a foot deep.
- have large prop-roots, often times called “walking roots”, with thick lenticels for gas exchange.
- named “red” because they produce chemicals called tannins that turn the water and mud a rusty color.
- leaves are broadly-elliptical and the largest of the three (about 3 to 5 inches long).
- viviparous propagules can survive in salt water for over a year
- live farthest away from the water of the three, just above the water level that the black mangrove lives in.
- sometimes have pneumatophores but they are usually less common. When pneumatophores are present they are usually less prominent than on the black.
- named “white” because of the whitish appearance of the bark.
- leaves are rounded elliptical, have two small glands at leaf base, and are more yellow-green in color.
- viviparous propagules can survive in salt water for at least 1 month.
Black Mangroves stand apart from the other species of mangroves in that they:
- live in a few inches of salt water, further inland than the Red mangroves. They can withstand higher levels of salt.
- have pneumatophores, straw-like roots that stick out vertically from the mud for gas exchange.
- named “black” because the older sections of the trunk and heartwood are blackish in color.
- leaves are narrow-elliptical and are about 2 to 4 inches long. The leaves have salt crystals formed on the top side; this is an adaption to living in high salt concentrations.
- viviparous propagules can survive in salt water for at least 4 months.