What do DFW tree ordinances mean for your home and business?
June 28, 2017
Trees are no doubt important and valuable to our environment, which is why cities across the country are putting regulations in place to preserve the trees we have, and encourage new plantings. You might think that city tree ordinances only apply to city properties. But that’s not so….private property owners and developers must also abide by city tree ordinances.
Why have tree ordinances?
When property owners are encouraged to maintain and preserve their trees, it has a positive effect on the ecological balance of their property and surrounding areas; as well as a positive effect on the economic development of the city. Trees not only provide shade for structures and walkways, and enhance the environment aesthetically, they also prevent soil erosion, clean the air, conserve energy, reduce noise pollution, provide wildlife habitat, and so much more. Healthy trees are key to healthy property values and the overall quality of urban life. When trees suffer, the city and its residents suffer, too. The City of Dallas is making strides in the right direction with its Article X: Landscape and Tree Preservation Regulations.
Private Property Owners: What the tree ordinance means for you...
If you built a home after 1994, the city of Dallas requires, “...the lot must have at least three trees with a caliper equal to or exceeding two inches. At least two of these trees must be located in the front yard. The trees must be species listed in Section 51A-10.134.” This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea for the enhancement of your neighborhood.
Approved trees include:
- Redbud, Cercis canadensis
- Texas Persimmon, Diospyros texana
- Eastern Red, Cedar Juniperus virginiana
- Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa
- Chinkapin Oak, Quercus muhlenbergii
These are just a few of the wonderful trees we would love to see more of around the city.
What the Dallas Tree ordinances means for Commercial Properties
In the Article X : Landscape and Tree Preservation Regulations, there are very specific rules about tree preservation for commercial property owners. The goal is not to inhibit property owners or developers from doing what they want with their property, but to keep trees throughout the city healthy and vigorous so they add value to not only the property on which they stand, but to the employees, customers and other property owners around them. Not to mention, keep environments safe for residents.
The recent destruction of 75 trees on Forest Lane, seems to violate ordinance SEC. 51A-10.108. General Maintenance. “Required plant materials must be maintained in a healthy, growing condition at all times. The property owner is responsible for regular weeding, mowing of grass, irrigating, fertilizing, pruning, and other maintenance of all plantings as needed.” The extreme pruning the owners performed on the existing trees could result in fines up to $2000 per tree and may require them to replace each tree they destroyed.
This commercial property owner could have applied for a special permit to have some or all of the trees removed, if they agreed to replace the trees with more suitable trees for their property and use.
Remember that if you’ve lost a large tree, are building a new home, or adding an addition or pool, and your property work will result in removal of trees, you’ll need to review the existing tree ordinance to see if you’re obligated to plant new trees in their place. If you have questions about your local tree ordinances you should reach out to your city’s arborist or urban forester. You can also schedule a tree evaluation with one of our certified arborists if you’re concerned about tree preservation services. If you have a commercial property or are a developer, you can contact our ASCA certified consulting arborists through The Consulting Group.