Do You Need a Permit to Plant a Tree in Florida

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Trees are the natural adornments of any landscape. Their utility goes beyond just beautifying any site. They also have many other benefits like keeping the air clean and providing shade, food, and shelter for many species. Trees are fundamental to combat air pollution, soil erosions, and climate change.

With this many benefits, it’s only natural cities will go as far as to promote planting trees in different areas. However, regulations must be set to keep everything under proper vigilance. Many municipalities have their guidelines set for planting and removing trees. 

But as great as they can be, they can also be bothersome and dangerous under certain circumstances. Hazardous trees can pose a significant threat to your property or your neighborhood if not handled carefully. Identifying a decaying tree could be a little daunting, but with proper instructions, it should be an easier task. Rotten wood, weird shaping, loose bark, and dead branches are clear signs of trees needing removal. In the case cutting down trees is necessary, it’s advised to check the municipality guidelines to avoid making any mistakes that could lead to costly consequences. 

Coconut Palms

Probably the first thing you could think of when looking at Florida’s warm and sunny weather are the beautiful palms and fresh coconuts that adorn the coasts. However, as much of a trademark of the state as it may seem, coconut palms are non-native plants and are predicted to become invasive in certain parts of the state.

Coconut Palms are said to have originated from Southeast Asia and have migrated through both human-made and natural methods. As of today, they are one of the most refreshing eyesight in sunny weather. Coconuts also harbor a great amount of benefits, pretty much every component of the coconut can result in a powerful resource such as milk, water, oil, and actual food. It’s also very rich in fiber, protein, and vitamin C.

Due to its many uses, coconuts are a valuable acquisition of any local ecosystem. However, in South Florida, they are considered to become an invasive species, and control around its plantation has some red tape. According to the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas, you are allowed to plan coconuts in South Florida under the following conditions: avoid plantation near canals or flowing waterbodies, ensure fruits should never reach the waterways, and all undesirable fruit must be taken to the yard.

Planting and Removing Trees (State and Local)

In every state, the plantation of trees is highly regulated and might require landscape licensing. Particularly in Florida, the introduction of new and non-native species into the area requires a permit issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture

According to state law, homeowners can plan or remove trees inside their property at their discretion. Some general considerations are advised before planting. First, an overall terrain inspection should be made to rule out underground utilities. It’s also recommended to inquire about the types of trees suggested for the area and the location they should be planted depending on their size. 

Regulations to plant trees in Florida can also vary according to each municipality. In the city of Boca Raton, the guidelines to plant trees include straying far from power lines, as they can become fire hazards. Pruning guidelines include training them when they are young so they can develop structure, as well as being mindful of the canopy and the ways to make the tree stable.

The City of Greenacres determines that a permit issued by the city’s Building Division is necessary to plant or relocate trees. Tree removal also needs to be justified. These justifications could be the death of the tree, disease, or hazard. 

At Boynton Beach, the contribution of vegetation and trees is recognized. Regulations state that it should always be removed with proper permits. 

On the other hand, the town of Jupiter has its specific guidelines. Removing a tree or certain vegetation may need the Town’s approval or an HOA (Homeowner Association) approval. In the case of dead or hazardous trees, they can be removed as long as they are on your property. In the case of needing to remove an exotic or protected species, the municipality also requires a permit. 

Lake Worth has landscape principles that conserve potable water first and foremost. They also use smart landscaping and strategic tree placement to promote energy conservation through shape and reduce air and noise pollution. Permits are required to remove vegetation and can only be issued to professionals. 

Palm Beach County requires a permit to remove trees at non-residential sites. Single-family lots also require clearance to remove trees and vegetation. Similarly, Wellington allows the removal of trees at private properties, however, cutting down trees at public property without proper paperwork can lead to hefty fines. 

Disclaimer: These regulations are always subject to change. Please refer to primary sources for updated information. 
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