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Tree removal laws & permits by state

Every city in every state has its own tree removal regulations. This is because each city has its own unique ecosystem, weather and plant life. The types of trees that are protected in Florida vary greatly to tree protection laws in Arizona.

Below is a list of links to tree removal ordinances in each state and city.

Some have summaries, others are links to your cities Tree Preservation Ordinance. In it, you will find all the answers related to tree removal laws and whether you need a permit to remove a tree on your property.

Jump to your state

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Alaska

In Alaska, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to trim any tree on your property that is coming in contact with power or telephone cables. According to the Anchorage Tree Ordinance, like most other states, you can remove dead or dangerous trees without a permit if they are deemed a hazard to persons or property. They recommend using a local certified arborist for the job.

Select your city from the list below

Alabama

In most cities in Alabama, there is no specific mention of trees on private property in their tree ordinance, which in most cases means you can trim or remove any tree on your property. Each city has its own set of rules, so be sure to refer to your local tree ordinance before going ahead with the removal. Local tree services in your area are all up to date with the local land clearing laws and will be able to quickly tell you if your tree needs a permit before removal. The state of Alabama has 7 trees they consider invasive such as the Tallow tree or the Japanese Privet. These can be removed without a permit.

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Arkansas

Arkansas is a state that has strict and clear tree protection and removal laws. The city has its own state tree, which is Loblolly Pine. Additionally, the state has several invasive trees, such as the Japanese Honeysuckle, which can be removed without a permit. In this city, you are free to remove any invasive trees without a permit. In case there is a dead or dangerous tree, the city can also remove or notify you to remove it. Checking laws in other cities will enable you to know better since they may vary.

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Benton
Blytheville
Cabot
Camden
El Dorado
Forrest City
Fort Smith
Harrison
Helena-West Helena
Hot Springs
Hot Springs Village
Marion
Mountain Home
Paragould
Russellville
Searcy
Sherwood
Siloam Springs
Van Buren
West Memphis

Arizona

According to the city of Arizona, you can generally remove any dangerous or dead trees without a permit. The state, however, protects trees, and as a result, there are 44 tree species listed as endangered and 21 threatened species. However, different cities in the state of Arizona have some variations in their tree laws. Refer to city laws to find out more.

California

In California, there are up to 18 state forests. As a result, the state is very serious about the protection of trees. According to the California state ordinance, it is generally okay to remove dead or dangerous trees without a permit. However, for trees that are close to power lines, the owner must find professionals to do the work. Since the state of California has up 75 endangered trees, they are protected from removal. There is only 1 invasive tree, which is Blue Gum or the Mexican Fan Palm. Refer to local laws to find specific information on various cities. For example, in the city of El Centro, you will require a permit in case your trees are coming into contact with electric wires.

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Colorado

In the city of Longmont, Colorado, it is unlawful to remove or damage trees on the city property like many other cities. If found guilty, you will be penalized or prosecuted. Since Colorado has 7 and 9 endangered and threatened tree species, respectively, the laws on these trees are strict. Generally, a permit is not required to remove any trees deemed as a danger or dead. For many states, private trees are the owner’s responsibility and can be removed. In some cases, an exception is made where there are heritage trees. Make sure to check the laws in your city.

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Connecticut

The city of Bristol does not mention any tree removal permits required to remove trees on private land. However, for you to remove trees on public or city property, you must obtain a permit. For the state of Connecticut, a permit is not required to remove trees that are deemed dangerous or dead. Checking various city laws will help you understand more. The state focuses a lot on protecting trees such as endangered species, which are 5 and 1 threatened tree. Connecticut also has 53 invasive species that can be removed without a permit, such as the Tree of heaven and Norway Maple.

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District of Columbia

Generally, you will not need any permit to remove a tree deemed dangerous or dead, especially on your property in the District of Columbia. Although some cities may have small differences, checking city tree laws will shine more light. For invasive trees, you do not need to obtain a permit as well. The state government does not protect trees that are privately owned unless they are heritage trees.

Delaware

Delaware is a state with very serious regulations on work on trees. Having 3 endangered and 7 threatened species, these trees and those on public land are protected. According to a city like Milford, trees protected, such as heritage trees, are protected and require a removal permit. However, generally, you will not need a permit to remove trees that are either dead or dangerous in the state of Delaware. You can also remove invasive trees without the need for a permit. Other city’s tree laws give more information.

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Florida

Florida has a total of 91 invasive tree species. An example is a Brazilian Pepper and the Australian Pine. You are allowed to remove all the invasive trees without a permit. However, the state of Florida has a tree ordinance to protect the most important trees. It has 39 endangered tree species such as Beargrass and Bellflower and 11 threatened tree species. Generally, you can remove invasive trees or those deemed dangerous or dead without obtaining a permit. In the city of Jupiter, for example, you do not need a permit to remove a tree on your property, especially if you are living in an area with a Homeowners Association (HOA).

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Georgia

Southern Live Oak is the state tree for Georgia. The state has clear regulations on tree works to protect its trees. Additionally, the state of Georgia has 19 endangered trees and 8 threatened ones. Generally, you are allowed to remove any trees deemed a danger to the public or dead. Many cities have similarities in their laws. In Kingsland, once you have obtained a permit to remove a protected tree, you are required to clear all the debris as well. Invasive trees do not require a permit to remove in Georgia.

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Hawaii

In Hawaii, invasive trees can be removed without obtaining a permit. The only listed invasive tree in Hawaii is the Umbrella tree. However, when it comes to dead or any dangerous trees, these are trees that can harm the public, even by interfering with electric wires, you can generally remove without the need for a permit. Checking tree laws in different cities offer further information. In Kihei, for example, there is no mention of a permit when removing trees from private properties, but street trees are protected by the department of public works.

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East Honolulu
Ewa Beach
Ewa Gentry
Halawa
Hilo
Honolulu
Kahului
Kailua
Kaneohe
Kapolei
Makakilo
Mililani Mauka
Mililani Town
Nanakuli
Pearl City
Royal Kunia
Schofield Barracks
Wahiawa
Waianae
Wailuku
Waimalu
Waipahu

Iowa

For Mason city, there is no mention of the need to get a permit to remove trees on private property. However, you will need a permit to remove any trees growing on public lands such as streets and parks. Protected trees also need a permit. In Iowa, there are 5 threatened tree species. Mostly you do not need a permit to remove any tree posing a danger to the public. This applies to dead ones. Invasive trees as well.

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Idaho

In Idaho, there are up to 40 invasive trees and can be removed without a permit. An example of this is Small Leaf Privet. Additionally, trees that become a danger or hazard by either being dead, structurally unsafe or infested, can be removed without a permit. Many cities in Idaho have similar regulations.

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Illinois

Illinois is a state with 1 endangered, and 8 threatened tree species. The strict tree rules and regulations in this state make it possible to protect such trees, among others. However, the state also considers trees that may be a threat to the public. This is why you can remove any tree deemed dangerous or dead without the need for a permit. Additionally, there are 26 invasive tree species in Illinois that also can be removed without a permit. A city like Rock Island County requires its residents to report any hazardous trees on public land for quick action.

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Indiana

Taking a look at the cities in Indiana, you will realize that most of them do not have specific information on the removal of trees on private property. Nevertheless, there are clear guidelines on the removal of trees from public land, endangered, and those listed as threatened tree species. When it comes to invasive trees such as the Japanese Honeysuckle and 37 others found in Indiana, no permit is required. The same case applies to dangerous trees. Kokomo city, for example, focuses on public and protected trees.

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Anderson
Columbus
Crawfordsville
Crown Point
Elkhart
Fishers
Frankfort
Gary
Greenfield
Huntington
Jasper
Jeffersonville
Lebanon
Logansport
Mishawaka
New Castle
New Haven
Noblesville
Portage
Seymour
Shelbyville
Terre Haute
Vincennes

Kentucky

The number of trees in Kentucky is high hence the need for protection. In the city of Louisville, public trees are protected. However, if there is a right course, or the trees are a threat, then a permit is provided for removal. In cases where the tree is privately owned and is a threat, in most cities in Kentucky, you do not need a permit to remove it. For any invasive trees in Kentucky, feel free to remove them even without a permit.

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Bowling Green
Danville
Elizabethtown
Fort Thomas
Nicholasville
Richmond
Shelbyville
Shively
St. Matthews

Kansas

In Derby and other cities in Kansas, the removal of dead or dangerous trees does not require a permit. However, in case you do not remove a dangerous tree, in Derby city, the city may either remove or make you remove it. Kansas is a state with 2 threatened trees and other protected ones. For its 27 invasive trees, you are free to remove them without obtaining a permit. Check specific tree laws for your city for more details.

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Louisiana

Louisiana has 14 invasive trees, including the Chinese privet, and all of them can be removed without a tree removal permit. For any trees deemed as a threat to the public generally can be removed without obtaining a permit. However, protected trees require a permit. For example, in Morgan City, designated and heritage trees require you to obtain a permit before removal.

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Massachusetts

You will find 2 endangered trees and 1 threatened tree species in Massachusetts. For invasive ones, there are 27 tree species, including the Common Buckthorn. Generally, it is okay to remove invasive and dangerous trees without a permit in most of the cities in Massachusetts. For the city of Greenfield, there is nothing about trees on private land, but those on public property are protected.

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Abington
Acton
Agawam
Amesbury
Andover
Ashland
Athol
Auburn
Belchertown
Brockton
Burlington
Charlton
Chelsea
Clinton
Danvers
Dartmouth
Dedham
Dennis
Dracut
Dudley
Duxbury
East Bridgewater
Easthampton
Easton
Everett
Fairhaven
Fall River
Falmouth
Foxborough
Framingham
Franklin
Hanover
Haverhill
Hingham
Holden
Holliston
Holyoke
Hopkinton
Hudson
Ipswich
Kingston
Lynn
Lynnfield
Mansfield
Marlborough
Marshfield
Mashpee
Medfield
Medway
Methuen
Middleborough
Millbury
Natick
New Bedford
Newburyport
Norfolk
North Adams
North Andover
North Attleborough
North Reading
Northbridge
Norton
Norwood
Oxford
Palmer
Pembroke
Pepperell
Plymouth
Randolph
Raynham
Rehoboth
Revere
Rockland
Saugus
Scituate
Seekonk
Sharon
Shrewsbury
Somerset
Southbridge
Spencer
Stoughton
Sudbury
Swansea
Tewksbury
Tyngsborough
Uxbridge
Wakefield
Waltham
Wareham
Webster
Westborough
Westford
Westport
Westwood
Whitman
Wilbraham
Winchester
Winthrop

Maryland

Tree laws in Maryland do not allow the removal of protected trees. However, in cases where a tree becomes a danger to the public, a permit is not required in many cities. For a case where it is an invasive tree, and the state has 4 invasive tree species, a permit is not required. Tree laws may vary slightly from one city to the other. For Baltimore, as long as you are not interfering with other natural resources or public utilities, you are free to remove trees on private property.

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Maine

In most of the cities in Maine, there is no specific mention of removing trees on private property. For Augusta city, a permit is required when removing or working on trees on public land or are protected. For all the trees that are deemed dangerous in Maine state, generally, you will not need a permit to remove them. For invasive ones such as the Black jetbead, you also do not need a permit. Remember that there are a few variations in city laws.

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Michigan

Michigan has 2 endangered and 3 threatened tree species, which are well-protected by the state tree ordinances. 4 different invasive tree species can be removed without a permit. In Washington, natural resources such as parks, recreation centers, and street trees are protected. However, any tree species that becomes a threat to the public or other trees can be removed without the need for a permit.

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Minnesota

In Minnesota, the Black locust and the Siberian elm are the most invasive tree species. With the state having a total of 7 invasive tree species, you are allowed to remove the trees without acquiring any permit. Another case is when trees are declared a danger to the public. This also includes dead trees. For the city of Red Wing, you will need a permit to remove any protected trees. No mention of private trees. Laws vary from one city to the other.

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Missouri

Like many states, trees growing on public land in Missouri are protected and require a removal permit. For those that are invasive, a permit is not necessary. This applies to dead or dangerous tree species as well in many cities. If the tree is on public land, you might have to get a permit to remove it. In Jackson city, when a tree is dead, the city can remove or cause the removal of that tree even if it is on private property.

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Mississippi

For the city of Oxford in Mississippi, heritage, specimen, and significant trees are protected, and a permit is a must before you can remove them. However, in Mississippi, a permit is not required when you want to remove invasive trees. There are 12 invasive trees in this state, which include the Chinese tallow tree. In the case of dangerous trees, generally, you do not need to get a permit.

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Montana

In Bozeman, the city forester is in charge and controls and oversees most of the works involving trees in the area. As a result, public trees are protected by the city. In case there are necessary works, they have to go through the city forester. If there is a need to work on trees for the purpose of public utilities, the work must be done professionally and neatly under the supervision of the city forester. No mention of private trees. Invasive trees can be removed, and no permit shall be required.

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North Carolina

Pine is the state tree for North Carolina. Tree of heaven and the Mimosa tree are some of the invasive trees you will find. There is, however, a total of 76 invasive trees that can be removed without a permit. With the state having 18 endangered and 9 threatened tree species, they are protected. Once a tree has been declared a danger, it is mostly okay to remove it without a permit. Note there are some differences in laws from city to city. The city of Concord, for example, does not allow the removal of trees existing in significant areas such as parks and public streets without a permit.

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North Dakota

Although the city of Jamestown does not mention anything about trees on private property, their laws on trees on public land are very strict. A permit must be obtained to either trim, cut, or remove trees on public property. This applies to many cities in North Dakota. Generally, for trees that are invasive or dangerous, a permit is not required. North Dakota has one invasive tree, which is the tree of heaven.

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Nebraska

For the city of Fremont, there are trees even on private land that will require a permit to remove. Others in private property are exempted. As a result, laws vary depending on cities since some cities do not require a permit to remove trees on public land. Generally though, dead trees, dangerous trees, or when it is an emergency, you do not need to obtain a permit. Nebraska has 8 different invasive trees that can be removed without a permit as well.

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New Hampshire

For you to remove a protected tree in Nashua, you need to get a permit. Once you have removed the tree, you will be required to replace it as well. However, for invasive tree species in New Hampshire, no permit. Norway maple is an example of an invasive tree in New Hampshire, and there are 27 species. Endangered species are 1, and 1 threatened tree species. In most cases, you will not need a permit to remove dead or dangerous trees.

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Bedford
Claremont
Derry
Durham
Exeter
Goffstown
Hampton
Hooksett
Hudson
Laconia
Lebanon
Londonderry
Manchester
Merrimack
Milford
Rochester
Salem
Windham

New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the states with the highest number of endangered tree species amounting to 331. There are also 32 threatened tree species. As a result, the tree laws in this state are strict. With 23 invasive tree species, you are allowed to remove them without a permit. Although many cities have a few variations in their tree laws, you will not have to obtain a permit when removing a dangerous tree. In Union City, no mention of a tree removal permit for private trees, but for trees on public land, it is a must.

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New Mexico

Russian olive and Siberian em are the main invasive trees in New Mexico. In total, they are 21. The invasive trees do not require a permit to be removed. In most cities in New Mexico, it also applies to trees deemed as dangerous, whether it is to the public or other plants. In Las Vegas, all trees on public land or street are protected, and a permit must be obtained to remove them. Check out laws on various other cities.

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Carlsbad
Clovis
Deming
Farmington
Hobbs
Los Alamos
Los Lunas
Portales
Rio Rancho
Santa Fe
Sunland Park

Nevada

In Henderson, it is the responsibility of a tree owner to ensure that his/her trees do not become a nuisance to the public. However, the director of public works may direct or cause removal or trimming of private trees that become a nuisance to the public. Additionally, in this state, an invasive and dangerous tree can be removed without a permit. Nevada has 20 different invasive tree species. One of them is the African olive tree. Laws may vary slightly by city. These are 2 and 8 endangered and threatened tree species, respectively.

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Caliente
Carlin
Fallon
Wells
West Wendover
Yerington

New York

With New York having up to 215 state trees, there are many trees, and the need to protect them is high. This is why there are laws to protect these trees. The state also has 6 threatened and 2 endangered tree species. Invasive tree species are 31, and no permit is required. This is generally the same case for dead or endangered trees. Kingston does not talk about removing trees on private property, but for those on public land, you must obtain a permit.

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Ohio

In Ohio, the Japanese honeysuckle and the Russian olive are among 38 different invasive tree species. All of these can be removed without a permit. For a tree that poses a danger to the public or dead ones, a permit is not required also. Although the city of Columbus focuses on street trees only, the laws vary depending on the city. In this one, street trees are protected, and a permit is a must.

Ben McInerney
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.