Trees and Arboriculture

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City Arborists

The City of Sandy Springs employs full-time arborists who enforce the Tree Conservation Ordinance and can provide citizens with guidance on tree removal requirements in the City of Sandy Springs.

The Sandy Springs Aborists do not provide tree removal; residents should contact private companies for that service.

To reach a city arborist, email: arborist@sandyspringsga.gov

Tree Canopy Protection

What role do trees and the tree canopy play in the City’s priorities?

In conjunction with the University of Georgia Institute of Ecology Natural Resources Spatial Analysis Laboratory (NARSAL), the City recently completed a comprehensive tree canopy study that shows that Sandy Springs has a tree canopy of 62 percent, an increase of three percent over a 2010 study, and the highest it has been since the first study of this kind in 1991. This study places Sandy Springs among the top tier of American cities with higher percentages of tree canopy. Urban tree canopy studies quantify the percentage of tree canopy coverage of a given area, relating directly to air quality, storm water management, ecosystem balance and quality of life benefits.

Tree Removal Permit

A Tree Removal Permit Is Required For:

  • Removal of any hardwood or pine tree 18 inches Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) or larger
  • Removal of a Dogwood or Redbud 10 inches DBH or larger
  • Removal of 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 foot protection corridor along designated streams and bodies of water. For more information on determining if your property is in the Chattahoochee River Corridor and/or contains a stream buffer please contact a City Arborist.

How do I apply for a tree removal permit?

Email a tree removal request to the City Arborist. 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.

How much does a tree removal permit cost?

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 percent on residential lots.

Is a Tree Removal Permit Required For Dead, Dying, or Hazardous Trees?

Landmark Trees: If the tree is classified as a landmark tree, you may be permitted to remove it without the usual canopy mitigation requirements; however, you must first email evidence showing the condition of the tree. Evidence may include, but is not limited to, photos or a report from an International Society of Aboriculture certified arborist. If you are unable to provide sufficient evidence, a site visit by a City Arborist may be required to verify the condition of the tree based on a visual inspection.

Non-Landmark Trees: No permit is required to remove hazardous non-landmark trees; however, you must first notify the City Arborist by email or telephone our Call Center at 770-730-5600.

What is a Landmark Tree?

  • Hardwood Trees: 27 inches in diameter or larger.
  • Pine Trees: 30 inches in diameter or larger that are more than 30 feet from any structure.
  • Dogwood or Redbud trees: 10 inches in diameter or larger that are in fair or better condition.

How do I measure 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.

What is Canopy Mitigation?

Canopy mitigation is the replacement of lost tree canopy through the planting of new trees on the property of comparable canopy potential or payment into the Sandy Springs Tree Bank. When you submit your permit documentation, the City Arborist will notify you if canopy mitigation is required.

There are two possible reasons for canopy mitigation: The removal or destruction of a Landmark Tree or the removal of any healthy trees which causes the tree canopy to fall below the residential lot minimum requirement of 35 percent coverage. Landmark Trees must be replaced at 150 percent of the lost canopy.

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