How to Cut Down a Tree, Legally

How to Cut Down a Tree, Legally

Trees were here before we were, and as humans inhabiting the same natural world, we have to be diligent in taking care of them. The more trees we lose, the less we’ll be able to replenish. With forest fires and global warming, a very real threat, trees are a more important resource than ever.

There is such a thing as tree law, legislatively known as arboriculture, which protects trees from being cut down by anyone with a working chainsaw. Because some trees are more valuable than others and can also be more historic (like the California Redwoods for example), there are sets of laws and regulations meant to see fit that valuable trees are not destroyed by civilians or loggers.

Encroachment: The Basics of a Tree’s Legal Right to Grow

A legal battle having to do with trees doesn’t just align with environmental rights, but also your neighbor’s. If your tree begins to encroach on your neighbor’s property, or theirs on yours, a particularly nasty battle over property rights can arise if you aren’t careful about keeping the tree trimmed.

When it comes to trimming an encroaching tree, you’ll need to be sure that your tree isn’t crossing the boundary onto your neighbor’s property barring them from mobility or other negative side effects. If it isn’t, then your tree can stay where it is. This could start a whole battle between you and your neighbor that could be settled easily outside of court, so settle it amongst yourselves.

Be Prepared for Litigation if You Cut a Tree for Views

It is never a good idea to trim or cut trees simply to improve a view. In fact, you could be subject to litigation or even jail time if you do so without permission or a proper permit.

If you do need to remove a tree entirely, as in it is dead or a danger to the neighborhood or properties around you, there are services you can call to do so for you. is one of them.

Cutting Down Your Christmas Tree or Firewood Legally

Now that the illegal instances of cutting down trees are stated, there are some ways you can legally cut down trees for personal use.

Get in touch with your local forest district office and ask for permission to cut down a tree or use the wood for personal firewood and they will provide you with rules and regulations, as well as instructions on how to do so safely.

An idyllic pine Christmas tree is difficult to find, and expensive to buy. It is possible, however, to locate a pine tree and cut it down for use in your home during the holidays, in addition to much needed firewood during the winter months.

Once you have obtained the optimal location, be aware of weather conditions, dead trees, and let someone know that you will be in the forest and when you will be there. The instructions given to you by the forest district will come in handy when you prepare to chop.


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