Trees are decorative. They provide shade in summer and provide important habitats for birds, insects and small animals. Are you allowed to cut down trees on private property, for example if they are too big or disturbing?
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Trees on private property
Who doesn’t wish to plant a tree once in their life? If you have your own property, you will quickly find a suitable place. A small tree is easy to buy and with a little care it will soon grow into a stately shrub.
Trees fulfill an outstanding task in nature. They are oxygen and shade donors, air filters and climate improvers. Birds and small animals find shelter and food on them.
But a tree keeps growing. The fallen leaves make a lot of work and the danger of falling branches in a storm should not be underestimated. Trees often have to make way for an extension, a garage, a terrace or a pool . But you can’t just chop down a tree!
The conditions under which a tree may be felled on private property are regulated by law in the Federal Nature Conservation Act. In addition, tree protection statutes apply in many cities. These are decided by the regional authorities with different content.
- Definitions of the maximum trunk size at which felling is permitted without a permit
- Regulations on the application process
- the exclusion of certain species
To protect particularly important tree species, the nature conservation authorities of the federal states can enact laws that prohibit the felling of certain trees.
Tree felling is only allowed
- outside the grace period from March 1st to September 30th
- when no wildlife lives in the tree
- as long as the trunk diameter does not reach the minimum size
- Deciduous tree: trunk diameter up to 80 centimeters
- Conifer : trunk diameter up to 100 centimeters
- Fruit tree: trunk diameter up to 150 centimeters
Exemplary tree protection statute
In Leipzig, the following trees and shrubs are subject to the provisions of the tree protection statute and are protected as such:
- All deciduous and coniferous trees including walnut, chestnut , ornamental fruit from a trunk diameter of 10 centimeters (from a trunk circumference of 30 centimeters),
- Fruit trees from a trunk diameter of 30 centimeters (from a trunk circumference of 100 centimeters),
- Deciduous and coniferous shrubs from 4.0 meters in height,
- Deciduous and coniferous hedges from 1.0 meter high,
- Climbing trees from 3.0 meters in height,
- All trees and shrubs without a limited trunk diameter/circumference or height, insofar as these were planted for reasons of landscape conservation or urban design,
- all trees and shrubs planted as part of replacement services and
- any street trees/street tree locations
The Federal Nature Conservation Act prohibits the felling of trees on private property in the period from March 1st to September 30th.
The determination of the felling times is justified by species protection. The breeding season of the birds is excluded.
Exceptions apply if
- felling is unavoidable due to construction work
- official orders must be complied with
- official permission is available
- road safety is impaired by the tree
- the public interest prevails
Replacement trees must be planted on any property where a protected tree has been felled. Priority should be given to native tree species. The tree protection statutes regulate how many trees must be planted as replacements. In Brandenburg, for example, a new tree has to be planted for every 40 centimeters of trunk circumference.
With a felling permit, you will usually receive an overview of the tree species suitable for replacement planting from the authorities. You can then select an item from this list.
Alternatively, a compensation payment can also be made.
Legal situation in gardens
The Federal Nature Conservation Act allows trees to be felled on land used for horticulture. Nevertheless, the municipal statutes must also be observed here and the closed season must be observed. Also read the allotment bylaws.
frequently asked Questions
A layman cannot decide whether a tree is so diseased that felling is inevitable. Ask a tree surveyor. With his assessment, you will then also receive approval for felling from the authorities.
This is regulated differently by region. Check the tree protection statute or ask the nature conservation authority. In most cases, the required replacement plantings when diseased trees are felled are significantly lower.
No, that’s forbidden. If there are no serious reasons, such as illness or a risk to road safety, cutting down these trees is taboo.
In principle, the trunk diameter at a height of 130 centimeters is decisive. If the crown already begins at this height, the diameter directly below the base of the crown is decisive.