Tree Removal Permits

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When is a tree removal permit required?

A Tree Removal Permit is required for the removal of:

  • Any hardwood or pine tree 18" Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger
  • A Dogwood or Redbud 10″ DBH or larger
  • Any tree located within the Chattahoochee River Corridor or a Stream Buffer (the Chattahoochee River Corridor is any property within 2000 feet from the banks of the Chattahoochee River. A Stream Buffer is the 75′ protection corridor along designated streams and bodies of water)

When is a tree removal permit NOT required?

If a hardwood or pine tree is less that 18" DBH, or a Dogwood or Redbud tree is less than 10" DBH, AND not located in a stream buffer, AND your property is not in the River Corridor, you do not need a permit.

A tree removal permit is not required if the tree is dead, dying, or hazardous. However, you must notify the City Arborist at with evidence in the form of a report or pictures.

*Please note that a hazardous tree is an objective determination made by an individual qualified in hazard analysis and tree risk. Our City Arborist will determine tree condition solely based on a visual inspection. For a full evaluation you should contact a private arborist.

Measuring Tree Diameter

Diameter at Breast Height, or DBH, is a standard method of expressing the diameter of a tree trunk. To find out a tree’s DBH, measure the diameter of the tree trunk at a height of 4.5 feet from the ground. If the tree is on a slope, measure from the highest ground level.

Who can apply for a tree removal permit?

Homeowners, property owners, and/or commercial tree removal company representatives can apply for a tree removal permit.

Applying For a Tree Removal Permit

There is no tree removal permit application to fill out. Your request should include documentation showing the location, species, and approximate size of all existing trees noting the trees to be removed. Photos can be submitted along with the request.

Please submit request to: 

Permit Fees

There is no fee for a tree removal permit. 

The only associated cost is when you have canopy recompense requirements for tree removals that bring your site under the minimum canopy requirements and mitigation costs for replanting trees.  Residential properties must maintain a minimum canopy coverage of 35%, made up of Protected Trees while 40% is required for non-residential properties. 

Landmark Trees

The following are considered Landmark Trees in Sandy Springs if they are in fair or better condition:

  • A hardwood tree 27" Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger
  • A pine tree 30” Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger
  • A Dogwood or Redbud tree 10 inches Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger

Landmark Trees must be replaced at 150% of the lost canopy. The compensation for the lost Tree Canopy is calculated on a square foot basis. If, however, the City Arborist determines that replacement is not practical, then payment may be made into the Sandy Springs Tree Bank in lieu of planting trees.

Determining the Condition of a Tree: Please consult with a private arborist.

Canopy Mitigation and Recompense

Canopy mitigation and recompense is the replacement of lost tree canopy through the planting of new trees on the property of comparable canopy potential and payment into the Sandy Springs Tree Bank.

When the proposed tree removal causes the site to go below the minimum canopy coverage requirements, the applicant must pay into the City's Tree Fund and replant new trees to bring the site into compliance.

Trees planted to meet canopy cover standards must be maintained for three full growing seasons.

Calculating Canopy Coverage:

Canopy is determined by general assignment. All Protected Trees (18” in diameter and larger) count towards 1,000 square feet of canopy coverage. Landmark Trees and Protected Boundary Trees can receive extra credit at 1,250 square feet. For assistance with calculating Canopy Coverage, please contact a City Arborist.

Contact the City Arborist

Call 770-730-5600 and ask to speak with a City Arborist or e-mail

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