Removing Trees

Tree removal is a natural and expected part of the tree lifecycle, but it can be dangerous and expensive when done on an emergency basis. An ISA Certified Arborist can help you create a plan for the removal and replacement of your trees over time based on known vulnerabilities and expected lifespan.

To avoid unnecessary replacements, prune your trees carefully and provide them with water and nutrients. Inspect your trees for damage annually and after storms. Trees that are a poor selection for the location, that lack adequate growing space, or that conflict with infrastructure such as buildings, roadways, or utility services could require removal. To avoid these costly problems, follow our selection and planting guides.

Trees that are badly damaged or in irreversible decline should be removed and replaced in order to avoid hazards. In the case of diseased trees, they should be removed promptly to avoid infecting adjacent trees. An otherwise healthy tree may be removed in order to prepare a site for development, but this should be in a strict minimum of cases. Removing trees to make construction more convenient wastes thousands of dollars in ecosystem benefits and services.

If a tree has heritage or historic value but has a high risk of becoming a hazard, consider restricting public access or moving valuable structures instead of removing it. Have an ISA Certified Arborist evaluate tree health and risk of failure before removing heritage trees.

Positively identify ownership of the tree before authorizing a removal. If the tree is in a public right-of-way, contact the local jurisdiction for guidance before work begins. Some jurisdictions require a permit, some allow only certified arborists to work on such trees, and others allow only city crews to work on trees on publicly owned properties, including rights-of-way.

Never attempt to remove a tree alone. Hire experienced professionals to remove trees. Request the local utility company to remove trees located near or beneath utility lines; do not attempt to remove these trees yourself. Accidental contact with utility lines can cause severe injury or death.

Whatever the reason for removal, the site should be evaluated to determine whether another tree can be planted in the same location or nearby to maintain tree canopy cover in the area. Replace trees wherever and whenever possible. Select large canopy trees if space permits, and follow proper planting procedure.