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 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* AND a hardwood less than 27" DBH, a pine less than 30" DBH, or a Dogwood or Redbud less 10" DBH. However, notification to the City Arborist is required via e-mail, phone call, or voice message.

*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 consultant 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 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 mitigation requirements for removal of a Landmark Tree or if replanting is required to maintain canopy coverage of 35% on residential property or 40% on non-residential property.

Landmark Trees

The following are considered Landmark Trees in Sandy Springs:

  • A hardwood tree 27 inches Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger
  • A pine tree 30” Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger provided that it is not located within 30 feet of any structure
  • A Dogwood or Redbud tree 10 inches Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger in fair or better condition.

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

Canopy Mitigation

Canopy mitigation is the replacement of lost tree canopy through the planting new trees on the property of comparable canopy potential or payment into the Sandy Springs Tree Bank. There are two possible reasons for canopy mitigation:

  • The removal or destruction of a Landmark Tree; or
  • The removal or destruction of any healthy trees which causes the Tree Canopy to fall below the minimum Canopy Requirements.

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.

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

Calculating Canopy Coverage: Canopy can be determined by actual measurement or by general assignment. Actual measurement is the measured square footage of the canopy of a tree or contiguous stand of trees. General assignment attributes square footage base on the potential canopy size of a species. 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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