Florida tree removal laws

Florida Tree Removal Laws: What You Need to Know to Stay Compliant

Do you reside in Florida and plan to remove or chop down a tree, causing serious harm or disturbance to you and your property? In that case, you need to know these basic and important Florida tree removal laws to avoid getting into legal trouble or emptying your pockets by paying those lump sum penalty charges. Therefore, in this blog, we plan to bring you closer to the comprehensive details of the key regulations and requirements you need to know if you plan to remove a tree in Florida.
Florida Tree Removal Laws: Everything you must know

Florida Tree Removal Laws: Everything you must know

Home to the magnificent mangroves, the grand live oaks, and the staple cypresses, among the other species of trees, Florida boasts as the land of scenic and luscious beauty. Its rich forestation speaks of the city’s love for nature. Trees are important to maintain the ecosystem and preserve environmental health. But there can be times when it can cause serious harm or disturbance to persons or property.

Knowing the local and state tree laws in Florida is of utmost priority if you want to continue the action smoothly and avoid any casualties causing you legal penalties or charges. Let us discover the crucial Florida tree removal laws you need to know, along with some basic guidelines and tips you can follow to chop or remove a tree effectively.

Senate Bill 518 (2019)

As per this state law, effective since July 1, 2022, any property owner in Florida can righteously trim or remove a tree if the tree is recognized as dangerous to property or people. And to do this, no permit shall be needed, except a confirmation from a certified arborist or licensed landscape architect, deeming the tree hazardous, in form of documentation, which should be kept carefully and presented to the authorities.

Local Regulations

While Senate Bill 518 allows the cutting of trees without a permit, only if certified by an arborist, local municipalities and counties may abide by some additional rules and regulations for tree removal that you might need to consider. Say, for example, a certain local administration may require a special permit in case you are to remove a certain size or kind of tree, like a valued or endangered tree species.

So, checking all the necessary local agendas for tree removal and following guidelines to minimize environmental impact or prevent damage to any property before running a saw or spade should be prioritized.

Protected Trees

Trees belonging to protected species, size, or historical significance may require special permits and adherence to strict guidelines. Trees such as live oaks, certain species of cypresses, old and large heritage trees holding historical values, etc, can fall under this category. Always consider double checking the local and state regulations for removal of protected trees like oak tree removal laws in Florida, and so on to avoid any casualties and legal penalties.

Importance of Consulting a Certified Arborist

It is important that you consult a certified arborist for tree removal or maintenance so that each step is conducted safely as per legal terms, avoiding costly mistakes.

  • Regulatory Compliance: These professionals know the state and local guidelines and can arrange for the necessary permits required for your case.
  • Tree Health Assessment: Arborists are well-educated about trees and their health and can suggest other measures, such as trimming or other treatments, when removal may be unnecessary.
  • Safety and Efficiency: Cutting big trees requires special attention and care so as not to harm anyone or anything in the process. Professional arborists are equipped with modern techniques and tools, and their expertise can effectively cut down a heavy or tall tree, ensuring no injury or harm is caused to any animal, person, or property.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Arborists are trained to act responsibly and maintain environmental health and sustainability when engaging in endeavors like tree removal.

Tree Removal on Property Lines and Boundary Trees

In Florida, tree-related disputes between neighbors can arise, especially concerning trees located on or near property lines. The state’s laws provide a framework for resolving these issues.

  • In case a tree has grown naturally on a property line, then, the ownership and responsibility of the tree lies on both the property owners. So, trimming or removing such a tree requires mutual consent.
  • If a tree extends its branches or roots into the neighbor’s property, then the neighbor has all the right to trim them back to the property line, ensuring no harm is done to the overall health of the tree.
  • If any property owner causes damage to a neighbor’s property with their tree, the repair costs are solely to be paid by the tree owner.

Steps to Ensure Compliance

  • Certified Arborist or Licensed Landscape Architect: Consider arranging for professional evaluation if you have decided to remove a tree due to serious consequences. These certified Arborists or Licensed Landscape Architects, being well-updated with the laws of tree removal in Florida, will help you through the process and provide you with the important documents necessary if the tree is deemed hazardous. In that case, removal shall be the most effective solution.
  • Check Local Regulations: As discussed, although the state may call off permits when certified by the concerned, yet your local government may adhere to additional requirements or prescribe permits, essential for the tree removal process in your area. So, double check before cutting any tree, to prevent inviting trouble due to any loose ends.
  • Obtain Necessary Permits:  After checking with local regulations, if any permit or document is to be presented, then apply for them and wait till you obtain all the necessary permits before removing the tree.
  • Hire a Licensed Tree Removal Service: You must hire a licensed tree removal service, familiar with Florida tree removal laws and local guidelines,
  • Document Everything:  Keep all records of assessments, permits, and communications with local authorities. This documentation can be crucial if any disputes arise.

Fines and Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with Florida tree law can lead to significant penalties, including:

  • Monetary Penalties: It is advised to always learn about the proper tree removal regulations and follow the proper accepted practices to avoid hefty fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 or more per tree, depending on the tree’s size and species.
  • Replacement Costs: In case of unauthorized tree removal actions or casualties noted during the removal process, you may be subjected to replacing the removed trees, either by planting new ones or paying into a tree replacement fund.
  • Legal Consequences: If you have persistently violated rules or have removed any protected trees without following the law or obtaining a permit, you may have to face further legal actions, including potential court appearances and additional penalties.

Understanding and complying with Florida tree removal laws is essential for maintaining the state’s natural beauty and avoiding legal issues. By consulting professional services, like Pasco tree removal services in Florida, checking local regulations, obtaining necessary permits, and documenting your actions, you can ensure a smooth and compliant tree removal process. Avoid the costly fines and legal troubles associated with unauthorized tree removal in Florida by staying informed and proactive. If you are looking for professional help and services, we, at Morris Tree, are your go-to service for legal, safe, and professional tree removal. Feel free to contact us anytime to ensure your tree removal needs are handled with expertise and care.