When is a tree felling permit required?
A tree in the garden offers many advantages: In garden design, it serves as an important structural element, and in the summer you can create a wonderful shady place to sit under the tree. Sooner or later, unfortunately, the tree is either too big or simply too old and you have to cut it down. Theoretically, it can be done quite easily, because after only three cuts with a chainsaw, the tree is already on the ground. But be careful: you can’t just cut down trees, even if the tree is in your own yard; a tree cutting permit is required!
Ideal time for tree felling
The ideal time to cut trees in the garden is from November to early February. The wood contains very little water during this time and can dry faster. Accordingly, it can also be used as firewood more quickly. The deciduous trees then also do not bear leaves and the vegetation around trees is often cut back, which makes the work and access easier.
- Mytting, Lars (Author)
When tree felling is prohibited
As a rule, the felling of trees is prohibited by the 1. March to 30. September even prohibited. The Federal Nature Conservation Act protects many nesting birds during this period. Certain regulations should therefore govern when trees may be felled.
These can vary greatly from municipality to municipality and from state to state. Trees are under special protection especially in regions with high population density. Therefore, tree owners should always check with the local authority first.
Such protection tends to apply to coniferous and deciduous trees with a trunk circumference of about 60 to 80 centimeters, according to BGL. Exceptions are fruit trees. However, exemptions can be granted for felling, for example if the tree is in the way of a construction project or is diseased.
Even more trouble looms with border trees
Sometimes it may also be necessary that before felling the garden tree, the neighbors must give their consent independently to the tree felling permit. This is the case, for example, with so-called border trees. If a tree is located directly on the property line, it belongs to several owners. For trunks in gardens of condominiums the same can apply.
Even if you have a special use right for a certain part of the garden, you should not cut down trees here. This usually has to be decided first, by the large number of co-owners at the owners’ meeting. Who removes the tree arbitrarily and without permission of the other owners, makes himself liable for damages if necessary.
Which trees are protected?
Not every tree one may simply remove. Because the larger the trees, the greater the likelihood of having to obtain a permit before cutting them down. Every community and city has a tree protection ordinance or tree bylaw that determines when you can cut down which tree.
According to Berlin’s tree protection ordinance, trees with a trunk circumference of 80 cm or more are protected. For example, Brandenburg’s tree protection ordinance protects all trees with a trunk circumference of 60 cm or more, measured at a height of 1.3 m, while Berlin protects all deciduous trees, walnuts, Turkish hazel and Scots pines. If, by checking your tree protection ordinance, you discover that the tree where you live is protected, you will definitely need a tree cutting permit.
In which cases must be given permission?
The law also regulates the conditions under which the tree felling permit must be given. In Berlin, for example, exceptions are accepted if the tree:
- has often lost its ecological functions
- poses a danger to persons or property,
- is sick
- makes the use of the property impossible or disturbs it
- Monument protection measures make the tree felling necessary
- the tree cannot develop in a species-typical manner due to its location
- or if the removal of the tree serves the expansion of the overall stand
The tree protection statute may also stipulate that a replacement must be produced in exchange for a felling permit. The compensation can be a new planting or a monetary amount. New planting is usually carried out on the proposal in the public green space.
Carrying out according to the regulations
If the permission is finally granted, one is then still obligated to cut the concrete tree in such a way that one endangers neither things nor humans. So you should use the right safety equipment, the right tools and the right felling direction, respectively. comply with.
Since tree felling can be very dangerous in winter and in strong winds, amateur gardeners should always follow some safety rules and, of course, wear appropriate protective clothing and equipment. Strong winds can affect the planned direction of fall or cause the tree to fall while it is still being cut. If possible, the tree should be able to fall on an open area.
Although tree felling sounds relatively feasible, even a medium-sized tree can quite easily overwhelm the garden owner. The larger the trunk, the more difficult the task is. The possibility of the tree ruining the rose border or landing on the neighbor’s car is high, especially in a city garden. Therefore, if in doubt, it is better to leave the felling to a professional. At least for safety reasons, tree cutting should never be done alone.
Letting the professional in is the safest way to go
If you’re not sure you can safely cut down a tree, get help from a professional before someone gets hurt or something gets damaged. In the case of doubt that becomes cheaper in any case, because alone the tree felling permission costs about 100 euro.
On the other hand, cutting down a ca. 15 m high tree is already offered for around 250 euros. Cutting down the tree can, of course, cost much more under (unfavorable) circumstances. Nevertheless, this option is still cheaper than if something goes wrong.