Tree Removal Guidelines

Guidelines per City/County

 Tree Protection and Removal Guidelines by Municipality

 

For tree removal purposes, the Greater Charleston area is divided into cities and towns and areas that fall under county jurisdiction. Homeowners may need to verify which of these areas their residence falls under before attempting to remove a tree. Removing trees without the proper permit, if required, can result in expensive fines and mitigation sanctions. Use the following guidelines to plan your tree care but always give your town hall a call before doing the work to ensure you are adhering to your town or county ordinances. All tree removals will require a measurement of the tree’s trunk at breast height (DBH) to determine eligibility for removal. In order to obtain this number, measure your tree’s trunk at four feet high by wrapping a tape measure around the tree. This will give you the circumference. Divide the circumference by 3.14 and this is the diameter at breast height or DBH.

 

New Leaf Tree Service is licensed to work in the following areas and has extensive knowledge of their permitting requirements. Our professional arborist has established good working relationships with all of the city arborists and administrators which ensures that all regulations and ordinances are obeyed and red tape minimized. This translates into faster service for the customer. Where allowed, New Leaf Tree Service will even pull permits on the homeowners behalf.

 

Mt Pleasant:

Designated "Tree City USA “ by the of the Arbor Day Foundation for over 20 years, Mt Pleasant has a detailed plan for preserving the town’s trees. For single family residences any tree with a DBH over 16” is considered a protected tree and will require a site visit and permit for removal except for the following species: pine, sweet gum, bradford pear, riverbirch, mimosa, chinaberry, Chinese tallow (popcorn), camphor and white poplar. Protected trees larger than 24” DBH will require a variance and approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Submit requests online or call the town’s planning and zoning department at 843-884-8517. Homeowners will need to obtain their own permits in Mt Pleasant; however, our certified arborist can write a letter regarding damaged, diseased or otherwise compromised trees in order to facilitate the process of protected tree removal.

 

Isle of Palms:

Any tree or branch over 8” in diameter will require a permit for removal. Call 843-886-9912 for permission before cutting trees on Isle of Palms. The city will require letter from a certified arborist to remove trees or tree parts over 8” that are damaged, diseased or otherwise compromising adjacent structures or concrete. Our certified arborist can facilitate this process free of charge when you choose New Leaf to perform your tree work.

 

Sullivans Island:

Any tree or branch over 6” DBH will require a permit for removal. Sullivan’s Island has strict guidelines about when cutting activities may take place and companies must display the Sullivan’s Island sticker on their vehicles in order to do work on the island. Fines of up to $1500 per worker can be issued for violations so be sure and call the town hall for permission and verification of business licensing on the island 843-883-3198. Homeowners will need to obtain their own permits on Sullivan’s Island.

 

City of Charleston:

The City of Charleston includes peninsular Charleston and parts of West Ashley and James Island. The city protects all trees except pines and sweet gums that are 24” DBH and greater.  So removal of trees that fall into this category will require a site visit and permit from the city for removal. Call to schedule 843-724-3781. Homeowners will need to pull their own permits for tree removal in Charleston. Parts of West Ashley and James Island that are not under city jurisdiction fall under the Charleston County guidelines which are outlined below.

 

Charleston County:

For single-family residences the ordinance for Charleston County protects any tree except for pines greater than 24” DBH. Removal of any tree greater than 24” DBH will require a site visit and permit. For multi-family units a buffer must be retained and trees of 8” or more are protected. Call 843-202-7200 for information or to apply for a permit. Homeowners must pull their own tree removal permits in Charleston County.

 

North Charleston: The City of North Charleston requires a permit for any tree cutting activity. You must call the town zoning office at 843-740-2582 to remove any trees living or dead or to prune trees in the City of North Charleston. New Leaf Tree Service will pull permits on the homeowners behalf should you use them to perform your tree work in North Charleston. For parts of North Charleston that fall under Dorchester County jurisdiction (neighborhoods along Dorchester Rd such as Whitehall, Archdale etc.) please see Dorchester County.

 

Summerville: The town of Summerville has a strict tree preservation ordinance. All trees greater than 6” DBH living or dead are protected and will require a permit and approval for removal. Call 843-851-5200 to schedule a site visit. For areas of unincorporated Summerville that fall into Dorchester County, see below.

 

Dorchester County: Dorchester County protects trees over 12” except for pines. You must contact their planning and zoning department to remove trees over this DBH. Trees over 24” including pines must be approved also. Call 843-563-0020 to apply for permits.