Skip to main content

Does a Homeowner Need Permission For Tree Removal in Delaware?

By Stein Tree
Posted on July 14, 2023

If you are considering doing some tree removal on your private property in Delaware, you should first know the rules. We have been servicing the surrounding area for over three decades and have extensive experience in all types of tree maintenance. Before you start with tree removal, you need to know your rights as a homeowner, what exactly you are allowed to do, and whether you need a tree removal permit. As differences exist between private and public property, having the information about permission for tree removal is key.

Who Is Responsible for Tree Removal on Private Property?

The state of Delaware has no regulations about permission for tree removal on private property. However, some regulations apply to specific instances or scenarios. For example, if you are part of a Home Owners Association, you may need approval before planting or removing trees.

Generally if a tree is located on the property line between two homeowners, both neighbors have an equal right to the tree. As a result, both must agree before a tree service company can remove a tree on property lines. Additionally, if a tree is removed in a way that damages a neighbor’s property, the homeowner may be liable for damages.

Who is Responsible for Tree Removal on Public Property?

The state of Delaware has rules and regulations in place regarding permission for tree removal on public property. Delaware promotes tree growth in its urban sector but allows a private residential owner to remove trees when necessary. We can help with some information about the responsibility for and care of public property trees.

Trees on public property and in the public right-of-way are protected. No one may remove, prune, or plant a tree on public property without permission from the city. The most common questions come up regarding street trees, the trees between the sidewalk and the roadway. Sometimes the trees on the other side of the sidewalk are also considered street trees, depending on the width of the right of way. Technically these areas are public property, which the city owns. However, the city of Wilmington has special rules which state that the owner of the adjacent property is responsible for care for the trees in the public area. Below are some common questions that you may have.

What Happens If I Have a Street Tree That Needs to Be Removed?

City street trees are protected by a city ordinance. They can only be removed if they are hazardous and must be replaced.

If the city removes the tree due to a sanctioned city project, the tree must be replaced with two new ones. If you, the property owner, wish to have a contractor remove the tree, you must obtain a permit, which is free, requires a site inspection, and takes approximately two weeks to process. Each tree removed must be replaced with another. The city has a list of approved species, including Red Maple, Washington Hawthorn, and Honey Locust.

Who Can I Call for Tree Removal or Maintenance?

The State of Delaware makes no specific recommendations for contractors, but the city of Wilmington advises that you choose a certified arborist to supervise any work done on trees. These contractors must be certified to work in city limits.

I Need Some Work Done on My Street Trees; Who Can Give Me the Answers?

You may run into issues with your street trees at one time or another. Depending on the particular problem, you may get assistance from the city. You can always contact the Delaware City Tree Committee or The Department of Parks and Recreation, and you will be sent in the right direction.

Species of Trees in Delaware

Some species of trees are endangered, including

  • American chestnut (Castanea dentata)
  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
  • Fraser fir (Abies fraseri)
  • Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea)
  • Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

In addition to endangered and threatened species, some tree species are invasive. Invasive species are non-native plants that can cause harm to the environment by displacing native plants, harming wildlife, or degrading water quality. In Delaware, some of these species include:

  • Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  • Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)
  • Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

Contact Stein Tree Service for Skilled Tree Removal in Delaware and Pennsylvania

Delaware is committed to promoting tree growth, so the state requires proper tree removal, and permission for tree removal, when necessary. Contact us today for a free consultation about tree removal, tree trimming and pruning, emerald ash borer treatment, or other tree care services for your property. Stein Tree Service has decades of experience helping Delaware homeowners care for and maintain trees on their properties.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.