Do You Need a Permit to Cut Down a Tree in Jacksonville, FL?

At Eagerton Tree Service, your expert tree service in Jacksonville, Florida, the team fields a lot of queries about trees and city regulations. 

Do you need a permit to cut down a tree? You’re in the right place to find out.

The Short Answer About Permits For Tree Removal

In Florida, and in most other states, you should start by assuming that almost all tree cutting and removal requires a permit.

You also need permission before you start: 

  • Clearing land
  • Renovating
  • Disturbing roots

Additionally, the city of Jacksonville states that you must have permission to fell a protected tree.

What is a Protected Tree?

Is your particular tree under this “protected” category? By state law, the first step is to measure the diameter at breast height (DBH)—11.5 inches or wider needs a permit for removal.

You will also need a permit for removing or disturbing smaller trees. This is important if a developer originally planted them to obtain conservation credits or for mitigation plantings. 

Say, for example, that the developer cleared a forest to build houses. The city would have insisted on new trees to replace the ones lost. If you want to remove trees planted under these circumstances, you’ll need a good reason and a permit.

The law also distinguishes trees on public property from those on private property as follows:

Trees on Private Property

Much of the time, if you’re living in a single-family home, you won’t need to worry about a permit. It depends on how far the tree is from a street right-of-way or the property line. 

When looking at trees to be removed on private property, you need permits if:

  • The tree is 20 feet or less from a street right-of-way and has a 6-inch or greater DBH
  • The tree is 10 feet or less from the property line and has an 8-inch or greater DBH
  • The tree is anywhere else and has a DBH of 11.5-inch or greater

Trees on Development Property

Many regulations apply to developers because it’s imperative to conserve protected trees. The law states that if you remove trees, you must plant new ones in their place. The scope depends on the species and the size of the tree—cutting down a 20-inch oak might require planting ten 2-inch saplings somewhere else.

For other species, a ratio of 3:1 applies. If you cut down a 30-inch tree, you should plant five 2-inch saplings.

The Exemptions for Property Owners

Do you need a permit to cut down a tree? The answer changes if the council doesn’t protect the species, such as:

  • Palms, except for Cabbage Palms
  • Pines, except for Long Leaf Pines
  • Invasive species
  • Trees listed in Jacksonville’s Code of Ordinances Section 656.1205

Contact Our Tree Service Experts for the Right Advice

So, do you need a permit to cut down a tree? Save yourself the aggravation of red tape and call Eagerton Tree Service at 904-823-3090 (residential) or 904-304-3938 (commercial) for an expert tree removal service. We’ll guide you through the regulations for protected and non-protected trees in Jacksonville, Florida.

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