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City tree removal Services
Last updated: 20 January 2021
City tree removal services have many roles that include planting, maintaining, and removing trees from city properties. They also receive and respond to various complaints concerning the status of the city trees and respond accordingly.
So, if your tree happens to be on city land, it is no longer your property but that of the city. Therefore, you have to contact your local council if you want to do anything to that tree.
Does the city remove trees?
All trees on public land such as suburban streets, major roads, parks, local shopping centers, or any open space owned by the city remain the local council’s responsibility. The city is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the city’s landscape to ensure it looks healthy and appealing.
The city is also responsible for inspecting trees, pruning, removing damaged, hazardous or dead trees, and replacing aging, missing, or dead trees.
The city removes trees on public land depending on various factors that include:
- If the tree is dying, dead, or damaged.
- If the tree is a hazard and threatens public safety and pruning cannot correct it
- If the tree is interfering with power, sewer, and water lines above and below the ground
The tree can also be considered for removal if:
- Its species is not ideal for the place it is planted.
- It is part of dense planting that requires regular thinning to ensure the remaining trees are healthy.
- It is considered unsuitable for the intended design of a particular landscape.
- It was planted temporarily to suit the original landscape design, and its lifespan has ended.
The city will not remove trees due to:
- The preference of householder to remove a street tree or a particular species
- The appearance of the tree, unless the tree’s appearance is related to poor health
- The tree’s roots are protruding above the ground like lawns and pavements.
- Poor solar access to a particular area
- Tree leaf litter, falling twigs, fruits or seeds, and droppings from wildlife
To answer the question, the city will not remove a tree unless it is an emergency or falls in any category listed above. The local council controls all trees on public and private land and ensures no tree is cut without a valid reason.
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Will the city remove my tree?
The city does not routinely remove trees unless during emergencies. Therefore, if you think your tree needs to be removed, you should have a solid reason why. For instance, if the tree is dead, infested beyond reclamation, cannot be pruned, hazardous, or belongs to an unsuitable species in that area, the city may remove the tree for you. Alternatively, you may obtain a permit to remove the tree as long as it complies with the Tree Removal Policy of your City.
However, the authorities will not remove trees because of littering, dropping sap, or uplifting sidewalks, among other things. You can get the council to remove your tree only if it is causing issues to you and your property or if it poses a danger to you.
How do I request a city’s tree to be removed?
Any tree on public land automatically becomes the city’s responsibility. Therefore, if the tree is hazardous and meets the city’s tree removal policy, it will be removed.
If there is a city tree near your property and you fear it might fall or it is causing damages to your property, you should contact your local council and request for the removal.
Urban Forestry will inspect all requests coming in for tree removal from the city’s land very fast. If the tree is found hazardous, the city will immediately organize for its removal. In case the whole tree is not dangerous, and pruning plus maintenance work will make it safe, the city will write a work order to allow for pruning and maintenance.
In case the city does not find any evidence that the tree is hazardous after inspecting it, they will respond to you immediately and closely monitor the tree to ensure it remains the same.
How do I request tree removal from the city?
If you have a tree on your property and you think it is dangerous and hazardous, you should obtain a permit from your local council to remove the tree. You can either go down to the offices and request for the tree removal permit application form, or call the service line and request the permit to be mailed to you.
You should, however, know that not all requests to remove trees will be approved. The city staff will come to your property and inspect your tree to determine whether it complies with the city’s tree removal policy. If your tree does not abide by the removal policy, the council will not approve your request. It is paramount to know what the Tree Removal Policy requires to ensure you adhere to your state’s rules and regulations.
Deviations from the tree removal policy are made by Recreation Commission and Parks only. However, you should know that the city will not remove a tree unless it is hazardous or an emergency.
Do I need a permit to remove a tree?
Yes, you need a permit to remove a tree, even if it is on your private land. Every city has different laws and regulations regarding tree removal. Also, these rules and regulations vary depending on your council area and not the entire city. Nevertheless, the ground rule is that you need to obtain a permit before you remove any tree.
You may find that some councils are a bit lenient compared to others. For this reason, you must ensure you know what your local council’s rules and regulations are before you remove a tree.
Can I trim a tree on city property?
No person is allowed to plant, remove or trim any tree on city property without a permit. Therefore, you must obtain a permit to prune or trim the tree.
In case the tree is bordering city land and your property, you may get the city to remove it free of charge. However, this may happen only if the tree is hazardous and meets the tree removal policy in your area.
If the tree is on your land, you will need permission from your local authority to trim, fell, or prune the tree if a tree preservation order covers it. To know if your tree has a preservation order that may have been set by the previous homeowner, visit your local council and request for that information. The city usually has a list of all trees in the area and will let you know whether your tree has a preservation order.
Can I remove a tree on city property?
Any tree on city property shall only be removed by the city or authorized agents in your town. If you need to remove a tree on city property, the removal will only be allowed if it meets the city’s tree removal policy. This includes if the tree is dead, damaged, diseased, or infested beyond saving it, noxious, etc.
If the city tree is affecting you in any way, you should contact your local council first and inform them that you need to remove the tree for various reasons. The city will then inspect to determine whether it qualifies for removal or not.
You should not attempt to remove any city tree without contacting your local council because you will be placing yourself in a compromising situation.
If you are a utility company and the tree is interfering with the utility service that may cause future problems, you can request for tree removal by your city. You should, however, write to the city and point out the reasons for removing the tree. The city will then take the necessary steps after inspecting the tree.
What happens if I remove a tree without a permit?
If you remove a tree without a permit, two things may happen;
- Your local council will not find out, which means you will escape the fines and other fees.
This may happen if there are no people nearby that may notice you cut the tree, or your neighbors mind their own business.
- Your neighbor tells on you, and your local council imposes fines on you.
In most cases, neighbors will squeal at you and put you in a compromising situation. Depending on the severity of the offense, you may be forced to pay a fine ranging between $1000 and $10,000 per violation. You may also be asked to appear in court, which may be very inconvenient.
In case you remove a neighbor’s tree without permission, you will have to compensate him/her. The neighbor may even sue you to ensure you compensate him/her for the loss.
Therefore, instead of risking paying high fines and appearing in court, it is best to follow the right protocol to remove a tree. Besides, you need to understand that all trees are under your local council, even on private property. So, you must obtain a permit before you cut down any tree.
Author: Ben McInerney – Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.
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