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Do I Need a Permit to Remove a Tree? Answering Your Tree Service Questions!

by Terry Zane on Jan 29, 2021

One of the most common questions about pruning, cutting, and other residential tree service is whether or not you need a permit to remove a tree, or even trim large branches. It’s vital that homeowners find out the answer to this question before heading out to the hardware store and stocking up on pruning equipment and ladders, as performing any work on your property without needed permits can mean hefty fines!

While every city or county will have a different answer as to whether or not you need a permit to remove a tree, you might check out some helpful tips about tree removal requirements, as well as answers to other commonly asked tree service questions. This information will ensure you keep your property safe while avoiding the risk of fines from your city or county!

Do I Need a Permit to Remove a Tree?

Removing a tree is not a minor issue! When done incorrectly, falling trees and branches risk damage to nearby property and injury to anyone in the vicinity. If tree roots are wrapped around buried plumbing pipes, cables, and other utilities, pulling up those roots can damage those underground structures.

Trees also keep soil healthy, holding hydration and topsoil in place and preventing erosion and runoff. Trees provide shade, keeping the ground cool and allowing grass and other vegetation to grow, and also give a roosting and nesting place for birds and other important wildlife. Trees also absorb harmful carbon dioxide while providing a beautiful view!

Since trees have such a great impact on the environment and even property values in your entire neighborhood, cities or counties typically require a permit for their removal. Some areas even require a justification for their removal, such as roots encroaching on a home’s foundation, and might require that a property owner attempt to address those risks before being allowed to remove the tree.

Do I Need a Permit to Prune Trees?

Whether or not you need a permit to prune trees will depend on your area; most cities and counties don’t require such permits, although they might have restrictions on how many trees you’re allowed to cut away. A homeowner might also need a permit to use a wood chipper or to have a rented trash bin on their property.

In some areas, not only is a permit not needed to prune trees, but you might actually be required to trim tree branches that hang over a street or neighboring property, or that encroach on overhead wiring. As another example of tree trimming requirements, Fort Wayne Tree Trimming & Removal Service (https://treeservicesfortwayne.com/), notes that area residents are required to trim back trees that might interfere with the view of streetlights.

You might also be required to trim dead or decaying branches, to reduce the risk of those branches snapping and causing injury to anyone in the vicinity. Branches preventing unobstructed use of sidewalks and other public areas might also need trimming, to avoid fines from your city or county!

How to Find Out If You Need a Permit to Remove a Tree
Most cities and counties have websites that include a section for permits, including those needed for tree services. Those websites not only tell you if you need a permit for a particular tree service, but they might even walk you through the process of applying!

Homeowners and commercial property owners can also call a local tree service near them, and ask about permits needed for various tree services. Tree service companies must be up-to-date on permit requirements and how to obtain them, and are often happy to answer your questions about requirements in your area.

Do I Need a Permit for Shrub or Brush Clearing?

As with tree services, permit requirements for shrub and brush clearing to vary from location to location and will often depend on the shrubs in question and how many you wish to remove! In most areas, you don’t need a permit to dig up a small shrub on the property but cannot fully clear land, such as for construction, without a permit.

In other areas, certain shrubs or vegetation are protected by local regulations that prohibit their removal. For instance, coastal states might not allow you to remove mangroves, saltwater-resistant shrubs or trees that grow along coastlines. Mangroves grow very thick and dense, and that density helps stop floodwaters from reaching the shore!

Because mangroves are so vital for ensuring the safety of both people and property during floods, they’re often protected against unnecessary trimming and removal. Shrubs of all varieties also help improve outdoor air quality and reduce noise pollution, while some even act as borders between properties.

As with needed removal and other tree services, contact a tree and bush removal company near you if you need shrub removal or land clearing. A professional tree services company will know local permit requirements and ensure any clearing or pruning job is done properly and safely.

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