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Do I Need a Tree Removal Permit in New Jersey?

A hand stamps an official document.

If you are new to the area or if you’ve never had to remove a tree from your New Jersey property, you may be surprised to learn that most municipalities require you to obtain a permit to remove a tree.

In this article, we will go over why this is now a requirement, some information that is helpful to know before you schedule tree removal, how Alpine Tree Service can help you get the correct permit(s), and a convenient list of all of the permits for our service area.

Keep reading to learn more.

Do I Need a Permit to Remove my Tree?

If you live in our service area, you can assume that a tree removal permit is needed before your tree can be removed.

In some areas, one tree can be removed without a permit. In others, one tree removal per calendar year is allowed without the requirements of paying a fee, obtaining a permit, or planting a replacement tree.

Young trees, often those less than 6 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH), may be exempt from tree removal permits. Dead or dying trees are sometimes exempt as well.

Refer to your town, township, or city’s particular rules and regulations for tree removals.

A tree removed from a New Jersey property by the Alpine Tree team.

Why is a tree removal permit required?

As we mentioned in the article about tree replacements, many homeowners’ associations, counties, cities, towns, and other municipalities are learning to appreciate trees and the many benefits they bring to communities.

Tree removal permits can prevent removing trees that are helpful to the local ecosystem, can protect historical or important trees, and can limit or prevent any potentially dangerous unlicensed removals.

Tree Removal Impacts the Local Ecosystem

Each tree makes a difference, so when many trees are removed, it can have a negative impact on the area. Tree removal permits are one way to ensure that tree removal is needed. In some instances, it also guarantees that a property owner understands the responsibilities involved in removing a tree, which may include planting a replacement tree.

Removing a tree can also impact:

  • Your property’s drainage and/or soil erosion
  • Other plants or trees that rely on the tree’s shade
  • Sound barriers, privacy screens, or property line markings created by the tree
  • Your neighbor’s plants, trees, or property

Important Trees Need to be Protected

Some trees in our area are considered landmark trees, which consist of:

  • rare species
  • trees over 100 years old
  • trees that are taller or have a larger trunk diameter than others of its species
  • trees that are considered of special importance due to its location, fragrance, aesthetic, features, etc.

Only Properly Certified and Insured Professionals Should do the Removal

Most tree permits ask for the information of the “contractor” who is responsible for removing a tree from your property. This contractor must be properly licensed to remove trees.

Tree care companies and workers that don’t have the proper credentials are more likely to cause injury or damage when removing a tree due to a lack of knowledge, equipment, safety precautions, or experience.

Learn more about New Jersey Tree Work Law and how it impacts you >>

An Alpine Tree worker climbs a tree to be removed near a New Jersey home.

What happens if I don’t get permission to remove my tree?

If permission and/or a permit is required but not obtained, the property owner and the tree care company that performed the removal can be fined.

Going through the process of requesting and receiving a permit ensures that there are less likely to be any issues with the town, city, utilities, neighbors, etc. down the road.

What is needed besides a tree removal permit?

There are often many steps in the tree removal permitting process, and may include any of the below:

  • Fee – Often an application fee. If a tree was not deemed necessary for removal, additional fees may be required. The fee may be larger if multiple trees are being removed.
  • Diagram or sketch of the area and the tree(s) to be removed, including nearby buildings, driveways, etc. For some municipalities, this must be done by a professional land surveyor and include all current trees.
  • Trees marked for removal – Often with a red “X,” ribbon or tape, or something similar.
  • Property boundaries marked. If a tree is on more than one property, both property owners may need to consent to the tree removal.
  • Onsite inspections of the property and tree(s) to be removed.
  • Approval from Tree Protection Committee(s), Boards, or other entities.
  • Requirements for any replacement trees – Where they should be planted, the type of trees allowed, how soon they need to be planted, how to submit proof, etc.
  • Contractor (tree service) name and license information. Most areas require that you work with a tree care company (such as Alpine Tree) that is licensed in New Jersey.

Again, check with your community to see which steps are required.

Screenshot of a section of a tree removal permit application.

Tree removal permit applications look different for each area, but are required throughout most of New Jersey.

Tree regulations and permitting can be confusing

Knowing what is required to remove a tree in your particular area can become confusing and is often quite a hassle. The specifications change frequently from year to year, and it can be difficult to ascertain what is required from you, the property owner.

Some towns require a permit based on the size of the tree; others based on the number of trees to be removed. Overall, tree regulations are becoming more and more strict as trees are becoming an even more valuable resource for our New Jersey communities.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that the correct approval is obtained before a tree is removed.

Alpine Tree Can Assist with Tree Removal Permits

Luckily, Alpine Tree can help! If you decide to hire us to handle your tree removal, you can choose the optional add-on of having us deal with most of the permitting process for you.

We will deal with your municipality to ensure that the correct permission is granted. You will just need to pay whatever fees are required, plus our costs for the permitting services.

Note that whether you obtain the tree removal permit or Alpine Tree does, we will not schedule your tree removal job until the permit is obtained.

Links to Permits and/or Permitting Information

We’ve included links to permits and permit application information for many areas in our service area. Some municipalities you may need to contact for more information. Note that, as permits change over time, these links may not be the most recent.

Contact Alpine Tree for more information on how we can help you obtain the correct tree removal permit for your area.


Alpine Tree's tree removal equipment in use on a New Jersey property.

Alpine Tree Can Handle All Your Tree Care Needs

From tree inspections to tree health care to pruning and tree removals, Alpine Tree can help with your tree care needs.

Contact us today to schedule your tree assessment.

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