North Carolina Tree Trimming Laws: A Guide

Did you know that each state has its own laws on tree trimming? You may think trimming a tree is simple, but this could be a costly mistake.

Before you trim the trees on your property, keep reading. The following could save you the headache of breaking tree trimming laws in North Carolina. 

North Carolina Tree Trimming Laws 

North Carolina developed laws for trees because they are an important part of a healthy community. There are laws about planting, removing, and caring for trees located in public areas. These laws were also created to protect property values. 

They were also created to protect the trees themselves. Trees are important for vegetation and for creating buffers. They create air and water and are a necessary natural resource. 

Tree Trimming and Removal Laws for Public Property

The following rules apply to trees on public property. These trees are usually owned by the city. 

No person can prune a tree or shrub without written permission from the city. No person can damage, cut, or prune a tree or shrub by attaching an object to it. This includes ropes, wires, chains, and signs. 

No person can do anything to kill a tree or shrub by keeping away life resources like water, air, and fertilizer. No person can change natural drainage that brings water to trees without written permission from the city. 

Anybody who damages a tree or shrub is liable for covering its cost.

Tree Trimming and Removal Laws for Private Property

The following rules apply to trees on private property. These trees are owned by the person who owns the land they grow on. 

If a tree is on your property, you must prune it if it interferes with passage, streetlights, or street sign visibility. Trees should grow in their natural form and height. No topping allowed. The property owner should remove and replace any damaged or unhealthy trees

Chemicals used to treat damaged trees on private property should not infect healthy trees on public property. Chemicals used to treat damaged trees must not be damaging to the community, surrounding vegetation, or people. 

If trees on public property cause obstructions on private property, the property owner must submit a written request for repair to the city. 

Special City Ordinances 

Certain laws are specific to individual cities. Private trees in Raleigh can be removed without a permit as long as they are not near the sidewalk. Trees can only be removed by the Urban Forester if they affect the health of people or other trees.

There are also certain types of trees that by law cannot be removed. In Charlotte, trees on private property cannot be removed without a permit from the city. 

Avoid Costly Mistakes 

Before you trim or remove any trees, know the tree trimming laws where you live. Otherwise, you will receive fines and penalties from the city. You might have good intentions, but North Carolina protects its trees with laws. 

Contact us with any questions you have questions about tree trimming in North Carolina. 


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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