Trees are an essential part of our communities and their preservation is important in both public and private spaces. As such, there certain regulations regarding tree removal Dallas homeowners should be aware of.
If you have a large property with lots of trees you should probably get to know your City Arborist. The City of Dallas has an arborist for each region (SW, SE, NE) and their contact information can be found here. They work in tandem with Building Inspection and are responsible for enforcing Article X, aka the Landscape and Tree Preservation Ordinance. This includes performing tree surveys, site inspections, and preventing/investigating illegal tree removals.
When do I need a permit to cut down a tree in Dallas?
If you live in a single family/duplex AND the property is under 2 acres, you do not need a permit, as long as it is not a protected tree. However, vacant lots, lots over 2 acres, or those that have a structure that is going to be demolished do need a permit. In addition, properties in planned development districts that have regulations that differ from Article X may need permission from the building official.
What trees are not protected from removal in Dallas?
The following trees you do not need a permit to remove: Chinese Tallow, Silver Maple, Siberian Elm, Arizona Ash, Black Willow, Hackberry, Chinaberry, Tree of Heaven, Horse Apple/Bois d’Arc.
Trees under 8″ diameter, unless planted as mitigation, are also not protected.
What do I need for a tree removal Dallas permit?
If your tree and property do fall under the requirements for a permit, you will need to completely fill out the Tree Removal Application Form (aka the Building Inspection Application), which can be found here: http://dallascityhall.com/departments/sustainabledevelopment/DCH%20documents/pdf/Building/PermitApplication.pdf
Next, you must produce a Tree Survey, which includes a vicinity map, the caliper/species of the tree, location on the property, as well as a Mitigation Plan of having it removed. (These can be provided by a Dallas tree removal service like us!) Finally, you’ll have to pay a $100 fee.
The building official will then review the application, and approve or deny the permit. If you have any questions or concerns you should speak to your arborist.
What is tree mitigation?
If you are removing a protected tree, Article X requires it to be replaced on an inch per inch basis. This means if you remove a 10” diameter protected tree, you must replace it by planting a tree or trees that add up to the same diameter. This usually must be done on the same property it was removed from; however in certain cases if this is not feasible, the inches may be planted within one mile, granted to a Conservation Easement, or donated to the city. A payment to the Reforestation Fund is also an option.
There are dozens of approved replacement trees, which can be found here:
What happens if I illegally remove a tree in Dallas?
If you cut down a tree that violates Article X, be prepared to pay the piper. The current law states that violators will be fined $2,000 per tree removed or $2,000 per day for any related violations.
If you see someone cutting down a tree illegally, you can call Building Inspection at (214) 948-4480 M-F 8:00am-4:30pm and ask to speak to an arborist. After hours, dial 311.
Why do we have so many tree removal Dallas laws?
There is some controversy to protecting trees from illegal trimming or removal. Some think it’s an overreach of government, some say they don’t go far enough. Currently, more than 50 towns have regulations regarding tree care and removal (we’ll cover some other locales in the Dallas Ft. Worth region in other posts).
As a tree professional and lover of greenery, I am for as many sensible regulations as possible because we have to remember that trees provide a better quality of life for all residents in the area, not just the property owner.
If you’ve decided you need a tree removed, don’t do it yourself and risk fines. Contact DFW Tree Services who will take care of all the permits, paperwork, and hassle associated with the job. You’ll be glad you did!