Guide to City of Alexandria, VA, Tree Ordinance and Regulations

The City of Alexandria, VA, has a tree ordinance and regulations in place to protect the city’s trees. G&V has the top tree service experts in Alexandria, VA.

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) recommends that communities have a tree program to manage their urban forest. 

There are more than 20,000 street trees in Alexandria, Virginia, with an additional 25,000 trees on private property. The City of Alexandria is proud to host the largest urban forest in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

What Is a Community Forest? 

A community forest is a forest within an urban setting that consists of at least one tree per five people. 

According to Alexandria’s official website, “Trees are valued for their many benefits—stormwater management, property value increases, improved air quality and enhanced mental health—while also providing important habitat for birds and other wildlife.” 

What Is Urban Forestry? 

Urban forestry is the management of urban forests and trees. According to the ISA, “Urban forestry is the application of sound arboricultural practices to the care and management of public and private trees in populated areas.” 

Alexandria, Virginia, has a dedicated Urban Forestry staff that is assigned to inspect the thousands of trees around the public areas of the city and determine whether any actions are needed. 

What Tree Ordinances Are in Place in Alexandria, VA?

According to the tree protection ordinance, tree owners are required to keep tree trunks six inches above ground level or maintain a six-inch stump. Trees within 20 feet of roads must be trimmed so that their lowest branches are at least 11 feet above street level. This is known as the “clear cut rule.” 

In addition, all trees in the public right of way must be maintained by their property owner. This means that the City of Alexandria, VA, does not provide regular pruning of public trees. The city’s Urban Forestry division provides other services such as inspections and invasive species removal at the request of the public.

When Is It Okay to Remove a Tree? 

The removal of trees is allowed when they are dead, diseased, hazardous, or in the way of construction. If a tree is not dead, diseased, hazardous, or in the way of construction, it is illegal to remove it. 

When Do Tree Removals Require a Permit? 

Typically, you do not have to acquire a permit to remove a tree on property that you own, although there are a few exceptions. For example, you’ll need a permit if the tree has a diameter of more than 15 inches and is in a Local Historic District. You’ll also need a permit if the tree is in a Resource Protection Area, which is typically any space within 100 feet of a stream.

What Are the Penalties for Violating the Tree Ordinance? 

If you cut down or destroy a Street, Specimen, Memorial, or Heritage tree and violate the Tree Preservation Ordinance, you could face a civil penalty of up to $2,500.

What to Do in Case of a Tree Emergency

If you see a tree or limb that could be a hazard to yourself or others in a public setting, call 911 immediately. The city will provide the staff that is necessary to take action. 

Contact G&V for Professional Tree Care Specialists 

If you are a property owner in Alexandria, VA, and need assistance with tree care, contact G&V. Our professional arborists are experts in the field of urban forestry and can help you with tree removal or any other services. 

For more information about G&V or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (703) 337-3080 or learn more about tree removal services today on our website.