Rivendell Tree Experts

Do You Need a Tree Removal Permit?

Tree Removal Permit

Believe it or not, you may need a tree removal permit before you can cut down a tree on your own property. That’s right — you may not be the only person making decisions about removing trees in your yard, regardless of what they look like or their state of health, if the tree in question is protected by state law.

The good news? It’s unlikely that you have any protected trees on your property, so you probably don’t need the town’s approval to go forward with your landscaping plans, but you should be aware of tree-removal laws anyway.

The Utah Heritage Tree Act of 1975

In 1975, the Utah Legislature enacted the Heritage Tree Act, protecting any trees that are named by the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. These trees are:

  • Historically significant on a national, state or local level

  • Unusually large or well-formed for their species

  • Unusually old for their species

  • Rare — potentially the last of their species

Several trees are on in Utah’s registry. Explore the names, find pictures and see where they grow on this interactive map. You can also nominate a tree in your community by sending this form to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.
Don’t Be Hasty — Act Neighborly
So no heritage tree growing on your property? Then you don’t need a permit — you’re free to proceed with safe removal … or are you? Is 100 percent of the trunk on your property? Even if a portion sits on the property line, you will need your neighbor to sign off on the tree removal, or else you could be held liable. Utah law is strict — if you cut a tree down without permission, you could be forced to pay up to three times its value. Keep in mind that fully mature trees can cost thousands of dollars.
Is it Time for Tree Removal?
Even if you don’t need a tree removal permit, it’s wise to think twice before removing a tree. Trees add considerable value to your property, not to mention shade for your home and protection from harsh winter wind. Talk to an arborist, and have them complete a full tree assessment. Unless they spot the following signs, the tree may still be healthy and viable:
  • Significant trunk damage with cracks, cavities and peeling bark

  • Heaving soil at the base and under the leaf canopy

  • Leaning heavily to one side

Tree removal should always be managed by experts who have the right equipment to minimize personal injury and property damage. Call Rivendell Tree Experts to talk to a certified arborist about the best course of action for your trees.