What are the Tree Replacement, Relocation, Planting and Maintenance Requirements in Charleston, SC?

Charleston, SC has various rules and regulations to protect the health and beauty of local trees. Listed below is information regarding tree replacement, tree relocation, tree planting and tree maintenance requirements.

Here at the Premiere Tree Services of Charleston, we make it a point to keep our customers informed. So aside from providing exceptional kudzu removal, tree removal and commercial tree services, we also publish updates relating to tree regulations and tree permits.

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Tree replacement, relocation, planting and maintenance requirements

  1. Tree Replacement Required.
    1. For existing trees, the Board of Zoning Appeals-Site Design is authorized to grant variances or special exceptions to allow their removal as specified in Section 54-327 and 54-329, and to require the planting of replacement trees of at least two and one-half inches (2½˝) caliper measured at six inches (6˝) above grade with the total caliper inches per removed tree not to exceed the amount specified in Section 54-331.b.
    2. For trees removed unlawfully, without approval, the Board of Zoning Appeals-Site Design is authorized to grant after-the-fact approval, and require mitigation for trees removed with replacement trees of at least two and one-half inches (2½˝) caliper measured at six inches (6˝) above grade. The total caliper inches, type and size of replacement trees required by the Board shall be based on the health and specimen quality of thetree(s) removed, the site specific conditions, and the factual circumstances under which the tree was removed. For trees removed unlawfully from a single-family zoned lot or a lot used exclusively for a single-family home, the Board is authorized to require up to three (3) times the total D.B.H. of the tree(s) removed in caliper inches of replacement trees and the minimum size of the replacement trees to be planted on-site shall be four inches (4˝) caliper. For trees removed unlawfully from all other properties, the Board is authorized to require up to ten (10) times the total D.B.H. of the tree(s) removed in caliper inches of replacement trees and the minimum size of the replacement trees to be planted on-site shall be four inches (4˝) caliper.
    3. In all cases, the Board is authorized to require up to fifty (50) percent of the total caliper inches of replacement trees to be planted off-site at a location in the general area of where the tree removal(s) occurred, and to allow off-site replacement to be accomplished through a contribution to the City of Charleston Street Tree Planting Program in an amount equivalent to the City’s cost for the type, size and number of trees to be planted off-site.
    4. In certain circumstances, the Board may require mitigation for trees removed in the form of specific arboricultural services to be rendered to remaining trees on the site.
  2. Mitigation Requirements. The Board is authorized, upon the granting of a variance or special exception for removal of a grand tree, to require mitigation with replacement trees. The total caliper inches per removed tree shall not exceed the amount specified below for the tree species being removed. Tree species are categorized by ratings taken from the Tree Species Rating Guide (March 2001), developed by the Southern Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. The categories below list tree species by their lowest rating in the range for hardiness zone 8. The category for species not listed below will be determined by using the Tree Species Rating Guide.
    Quercus laevisTurkey OakSalix sp.Willow
    Category I (80 and above rating, 100% mitigation)  
    Acer rubrum Red Maple
    Cornus florida Dogwood
    Ilex opaca American Holly
    Ilex x attenuata Foster, Savannah Holly
    Lagerstroemia indica Crepe Myrtle
    Magnolia grandiflora Southern Magnolia
    Nyssa slyvatica Blackgum, Tupelo
    Quercus alba White Oak
    Quercus phellos Willow Oak
    Quercus virginiana Live Oak
    Taxodium distichum Bald Cypress
    Category II (60 and above rating, 75% mitigation)  
    Betula nigra River Birch
    Carya illinoensis Pecan
    Carya sp. Hickory(s)
    Celtis laevigata Sugarberry
    Cercis canadensis American Redbud
    Cupressus x chamaecyparis Leyland Cypress
    Eriobotrya japonica Loquat
    Fagus grandifolia American Beech
    Fraxinus sp. White, Carolina, Green Ash
    Ginkgo biloba Ginkgo
    Gordonia lasianthus Loblolly Bay
    Ilex vomitoria Yaupon Holly
    Juniperus virginiana Eastern Red Cedar
    Liriodendron tulipifera Tulip Poplar
    Magnolia virginiana Sweetbay
    Oxydendron arboreum Sourwood
    Pistacia chinensis Chinese Pistache
    Quercus acutissima Sawtooth Oak
    Quercus falcata Southern Red Oak
    Quercus laurifolia Laurel Oak
    Quercus lyrata Overcup Oak
    Quercus prinus Chestnut Oak
    Quercus shumardii Shumard Oak
    Quercus stellata Post Oak
    Sassafrass albidum Sassafrass
    Stewartia sp. Stewartia
    Styrax sp. Snowbell
    Ulmus parvifolia Chinese Elm
    Zelkova serrata Japanese Zelkova
    Category III (40 and above rating, 50% mitigation)  
    Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye
    Catalpa sp. Catalpa
    Celtis occidentalis Hackberry
    Diospyros virginiana Persimmon
    Gledistsia triacanthos Honeylocust
    Juglans nigra Black Walnut
    Liquidambar syraciflua Sweetgum
    Paulownia tomentosa Princess Tree
    Platanus acerifolia London Plane Tree
    Platanus occidentalis Sycamore
    Prunus caroliniana Carolina Cherry Laurel
    Pyrus calleryana Flowering Pear
    Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak
    Quercus coccinea Scarlet Oak
    Quercus nigra Water Oak
    Quercus palustris Pin Oak
    Ulmus alata Winged Elm
    Category IV (0 and above rating, 25% mitigation)  
    Ailanthus altissma Tree of Heaven
    Albizia julibrissin Mimosa
    Melia azedarach Chinaberry
    Morus sp. Mulberry
    Populus sp. Poplar
    Prunus serotina Black Cherry
    Prunus serrulata Japanese Cherry
    Robinia pseudoacacia Black Locust
    Sapium sebiferum Popcorn Tree
    Tilia americana American Linden
    Ulmus americana American Elm
  3. Relocation of a Protected Tree. Relocation is accomplished by relocating the protected tree on land under the same ownership which is to be developed pursuant to the same development order.
  4. Replacement. Replacement is accomplished by planting the number, size and species of a recommended tree in accordance with the conditions at the Board of Zoning Appeals—Site Design, on land under the same ownership which is to be developed pursuant to the same development permit, within the right-of-way adjacent to the property subject to the approval of the appropriate government agency, or off-site within the general area of the trees being replaced.
  5. Tree Planting Requirements. In the relocation of a protected tree, or the replacement of a protected tree or grand tree with a recommended tree, the following planting criteria shall be met:
    1. Each tree must be a minimum of two and one-half inches (2½˝) caliper measured six inches (6˝) above grade.
    2. All trees used shall be vigorous, well shaped, branched and foliated;
    3. All trees shall be planted in accordance with the specifications described in Section 1.94 of Erosion and Sediment Control Practices for Developing Areas by the South Carolina Land Resources Conservation Commission, Erosion and Sediment Control Division; and
    4. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the recommended trees shall be of those species which will provide similar or better wildlife habitat, shade, erosion control or water purification as the existing species.
  6. Inspection of Protected, Relocated or Replaced Trees. All relocated or replaced trees shall be inspected by the Zoning Administrator one (1) year after their planting to insure they are surviving in a healthy condition. Treesplanted pursuant to this section that are found to be in declining condition shall be replaced by the owner of the parcel within thirty (30) days of notification from the Zoning Administrator. If replacement is necessary, there shall be a re-inspection six (6) months after the replacement planting.
  7. Maintenance of Protected, Relocated or Replaced Trees. The owner of the parcel shall be responsible for the maintenance of all protected, grand, relocated or replaced trees.

The information contained in this website has been provided for informational purposes only. It is general in nature, and should not be mistaken for specific legal advice. All information on this website is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or correctness, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied.

The Premiere Tree Services of Charleston is here to help you get started on your next tree project! You’re only a call or a click away from getting started! Please contact the Premiere Tree Services of Charleston by phone at (843) 480-0333, or by email charleston@premieretreeservices.com, or visit us at 520 Folly Rd. Ste. P #113 Charleston, SC 29412.

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