Padding should protect these London plane street trees from minor altercations with machinery that will be used to demolish the associated buildings and construct new buildings.

Much of my work involves inspection of trees to assess health, stability and structural integrity, and subsequent composition of associated arborist’s reports to document such assessments. These reports are necessary for the issuance of permits to remove mature trees within many municipalities. They are only effective for that purpose if they recommend and justify removal.

If there is nothing wrong with the health, stability or structural integrity of subject trees, removal might be justified for other reasons. For example, the removal of superfluous trees might be justified if it would promote healthier development of remaining trees. Trees that disperse roots that are beginning to damage adjacent infrastructure might likewise need to be removed.

It seems like it is too much to be concerned with for something that property owners should not need permission to remove from their own property. For what people pay for property here, they should be able to do whatever they want to with it. However, mature trees are considered to be assets to their respective Communities, and components of the collective urban forests.

These majorly and justifiably controversial concerns are actually not the the only difficulties associated with municipal tree preservation ordinances.

While a young coast live oak in the extreme corner of my garden was not quite big enough to require a permit for removal, I asked the next door neighbor if he would like it to be removed before the roots damaged his driveway. I explained that if we waited any longer, the tree would be protected, and that a permit to remove such an exemplary tree would not likely be issued.

Tree preservation ordinances are often the motivating factor for the removal of trees before they get big enough to be protected! I was fortunate that my neighbor wanted my oak to stay.

10 thoughts on “Horridculture – Tree Preservation Ordinances

    1. Damage was minimal. The neighbor intended to widen the asphalt driveway on the far side so that the closer side could be trimmed as it was displaced by the roots. However, the pavement was elevated so slightly that it was not removed. That was many years ago, and the damage never got any worse. The neighbor liked the tree enough to modify the driveway rather than cut the tree down. It was closer to his apartment building than it was to mine.


    1. Well, the tree was closer to his apartment building than it was to mine. He and the tenants liked it though. Damage was minimal, and after all these years, never got any worse. The neighbor intended to widen the driveway slightly on the far side so that the closer side could be trimmed away as it got damaged, the minimal damage did not necessitate such a procedure.

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  1. Speaking from experience as a Landscape Architect who has done hundreds of Tree Protection Plans now living in an ordinance free zone – Ordinances definitely work and I wish Florida would get with the program and enact some.

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    1. I go both ways with them. I really believe that people should have the right to do what they want to with their property, and that I have the right to ‘responsibly’ sell off some of the crowded redwood from my properties. (My properties are not within a municipality with tree protection ordinances, but the redwoods are protected.) However, if redwoods were not protected, they would be exploited, and harvested in an environmentally irresponsible manner. Within municipalities, I resent that some people invest in properties to develop them, and consider trees to be obstacles to that end. Those who do not want to contend with trees should invest in properties without trees. Developers were the most difficult of my clients. None were actually from the Santa Clara Valley, but spoke to me as if they were doing the natives a public service by exterminating dangerous trees and providing more ‘development’ . . . . as if we want MORE of that. It still makes me cringe. As a native, I would prefer to eliminate more of the modern development and replace it with either orchards, or native vegetation.

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      1. Yes, I am speaking for the most part about developers. I don’t believe Florida has any protected trees statewide. In Atlanta, the tree ordinances generally excluded any property less than an acre.

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      2. Goodness! In big cities like that, most city lots are less than an acre! Such ordinances would leave most trees unprotected! Los Angeles has protection ordinances that are comparable to those of San Jose, but their problem is enforcement. In vast regions, there is none. It defeats the purpose of adopting such ordinances.

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