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16th September, 2013 Comments are closed

September in the Know

In cities across Arizona and America, efforts to preserve and enlarge the tree canopy in support of sustainability and beautification goals have grown in importance over the past several years.  Cities throughout the valley have adopted one or more ordinances governing tree management, removal and replacement.

Each city has their own specific requirement so it is very important to understand the ordinances prior to removing existing trees from your property.  City of Phoenix, for example does not encourage tree removal but when trees must be removed, they must be replaced with the city’s minimum requirement of  1 ½” to 2″ caliper tree.  If the tree removal is to occur in the city right-of-way, however, a registered landscape architect must submit a Landscape Inventory/Salvage plan, indicating diseased or non-salvageable trees, for review prior to the tree removal.  Plans showing the tree replacements must also be submitted.

Many times commercial properties will lose trees over time to storm damage and other environmental factors.  Typically, when a new tenant applies for their Certificate of Occupancy, an inspection occurs prior to issuance.  The inspection includes the landscape and tree counts more often than not, will be audited.  The C of O will not be issued until the city tree requirements are met.  Some cities, like Scottsdale and Chandler require trees to be replaced in “like size”.  This means if you have large stumps on your property, the inspector will want you to replace the tree with a tree of that size.  The best way to avoid these situations is to immediately replace trees as they are removed.  This will save headaches down the road and most importantly, protect our urban forest and reduce the valley’s heat island.