Cutting trees in ATL city limits to give more sun for gardening

nancybea(7b/8a , Athens.)August 19, 2010

My son and his fiance are looking to buy their first home in one of the intown neighborhoods like Grant Park, Ormewood Park or East Atlanta. Almost all the homes have big trees that shade the small lots, with very little sunny areas for small veggie gardens and flowers. Of course they also love the big trees, but would they be able to cut some of the smaller ones to give more sun to the yard? Seems like I remember something about having to get permits from the city to cut trees? Or is that for the front yard only? Or big trees only? Or am I dreaming? Could someone (GGG?) who lives intown please fill me in on the rules. That might affect the house they buy. They both are now avid wannabe gardeners with their apartment balcony totally filled with pots of flowers and veggies.

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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Most of the information you could want, along with the forms, is at the City arborist site (also see link at bottom of post).

The actual code for tree removal is there, but I highly recommend reading the FAQ that's really hard to find these days - it's a general summary of the arborist policies in an "easier to read" format and I keep a copy at my site, here:

Here is a link that might be useful: City Arborist site

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 8:49PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Almost forgot - illegaly cutting down trees, if reported, can be pretty costly. As someone in the Grant Park area, I can tell you, I have the Arborist on speed-dial, and APD on speed dial, and if there's not a sign in someone's yard for during cutting and weeks prior to cutting, I'm on the phone with the arborist, and they usually tell me to call APD to stop the person, while APD comes to write the fine ;) I'm not the only one. I know the arborist policy, and I know how easy it is to go the correct route, so I rarely have sympathy

It's totally possible to cut trees legally. It's very possible to get away with cutting them down illegaly.

Just be careful, and please do it right.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 8:57PM
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nancybea(7b/8a , Athens.)

Wow, glad I thought to ask about that. I thought there was a ordinance about cutting trees but didn't know the details. Actually, I'm glad it's so strict. I love trees myself (my lot is about 80% wooded) and am in favor of saving all possible. My son does too and wouldn't think of going against the rules. Looks like he needs to take that policy into account while he's looking for his home since he does want some sun to grow a small veggie garden. I don't think he would even have considered cutting a large tree; I was really thinking about some of the overgrown, neglected back yards that are completely wooded. (There seem to be a lot of those in the foreclosure/starter price range he's in.) Thanks Satellitehead for the prompt answer. By the way; do you know if the city of Decatur has the same rules?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:08PM
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Also - instead of cutting, you might have them ask about "limbing up" which can bring more light into an area.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:21PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Here's a link to Decatur Tree Ordinance which I think may be changed:

If you need an arborist, unaffiliated with a tree company but who is also a gardener, please let me know. I have one. She will be able to recommend and guide you to limbing trees by tree type and let you know how best to garden under them. And she is very reasonably priced and local.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:55PM
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W O W --Tree Police?

Wackos lurking in Neighborhoods to call APD if you're cutting down a tree on your own property. That's frightening.

Glad we don't have that on the Space Coast.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 2:52PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

No, no wackos. We live in a protected urban forest, it's very important for our climate and for our land. Basically the City of Atlanta was a giant forest cut down for a city. The trees are needed here to remediate climate.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:31PM
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