North Port adopted new tree regulations in February 2022, following three years of discussions with the community and stakeholders. The updated regulations(PDF, 1MB), which will take effect on April 8, ensure that the City maintains a healthy urban forest while providing flexibility to property owners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Tree Removal Permit?
A permit is REQUIRED to remove, relocate or cause irreparable injury to a tree or to initiate development when a tree exists on a property.
There are exceptions for owner occupied residential lots, exotic tree species, certain conditions of a declared emergency, agricultural activities or for tree(s) on residential property has been determined to present a danger to persons or property by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or a Florida licensed landscape architect. Please refer to Section 45-4 Exemptions, of the Tree Protection Regulations.
Is a tree survey required?
A tree location survey is required for all proposed activities involving trees eligible for mitigation and/or conservation on undeveloped lots. A tree location survey is not required when tree removal is proposed on a developed lot, unless the tree(s) proposed for removal is located within a CRZ.
How do I measure the DBH (diameter in inches at breast height)?
What does the City do with my Tree Removal Permit?
Upon receipt of your application, a staff member will make a site visit to examine the tree(s) and the circumstances surrounding your request to determine if you are in compliance with the regulations.
After the work has been done, a final inspection will be conducted. Final inspections shall be scheduled by the applicant after the final grade is complete and will be completed by city staff within three working days after notification by the applicant.
How long does the process take?
The application review for single‐ and two‐family lots will be made within four working days of receiving a completed application. The application review for all other parcels will be made within seven working days of receiving a completed application. Upon completion of the review, the City Manager or designee will notify the applicant that the application is either insufficient or does not comply with the provisions of this article, or that the tree removal permit is approved or approved with stipulations.
What if the tree is on the property line?
Applications for tree removal permits for trees located directly on a property line, other than the boundary between real property and a public right‐of‐way, shall require written authorization of all owners of the properties on which the tree is located.
Administrative costs, fees and penalties collected as part of the Tree Protection Regulations are placed in the City's tree fund. This fund is used only for the purposes of: Tree education; acquiring, planting, and protecting trees; and acquiring and preserving land within the City.
Still have questions?
The City of North Port is committed to the preservation of trees throughout the community and to educating residents about the benefits of trees. If you have any questions about the information in this brochure, please contact us.
City Arborist: 941-429-7186
City-owned Trees: Public Works Department, 941-240-8050
Planning Division: 941-429-7164
Stop Tree Topping
What is Topping?
Topping is a practice that removes large amounts of leaves and branches from a tree's crown reducing the tree's size. Topping involves indiscriminate (internodal) cuts without regard to tree health or structural integrity. Topping, also known as heading, stubbing, dehorning, tipping, and rounding over, is no longer an acceptable pruning practice.
Topping removes large amounts of energy-converting foliage from the tree. This forces the tree to tap energy reserves to replace lost foliage, resulting in a weakened tree that is more susceptible to attack by pests and disease.
Trees will send out or “flush” large amounts of foliage to replace the leaves removed. New growth is dense and may appear to be fuller. Unfortunately, new branches are poorly attached and break easily increasing storm damage and personal liability, and topped branches are open for attack by pests and decay.
Just Because Your Neighbor Does It, Doesn't Mean It Is Okay
Some homeowners and tree care practitioners top trees whenever the trees reach an undesirable height. For some, they believe they are permanently reducing the height of the tree and reducing the storm hazard of falling branches, when in fact, topping has the opposite effect. People also top trees when they interfere with infrastructure such as utility wires, buildings, or views.
A topped tree requires more maintenance due to increased pruning cycles. Ultimately, the tree will die prematurely, reducing property values, and will need to be removed and replaced.
What Are Some Alternatives to Topping?
The canopy of a tree may be thinned with proper pruning to allow more sunlight through, while not severely damaging the tree. Carefully select the appropriate species before you plant a tree.
- Bear in mind the mature size of the tree and do not plant trees that will cause future conflicts with infrastructure, utilities, structures or views
- Contact an ISA Certified Arborist to properly prune your trees. Proper pruning can remove excessive growth without the problems topping creates.
- Enhance views by “windowing” or “crown raising.” “Windowing” is defined as removing several branches symmetrically within an area of the tree. By carefully choosing which branches to cut, and making proper pruning cuts, you can leave a window in a tree that provides a fully framed view and also maintain the health of the tree. “Crown raising,” or “skirting,” is the removal of lower branches to open up a view.
- To maintain a healthy tree, never remove more than 25 percent of the canopy of a tree at one time.
- Have an ISA Certified Arborist remove dead, dying, diseased, crowded, weakly-attached, or low-vigor branches through “crown cleaning.”