Hazardous Trees on Private Property

Fairfax County has no legal authority to require the removal of hazardous tree(s) that are located on private property unless the tree(s) threaten the public at large (public streets, sidewalks, school yards and parks). If the Urban Forest Management Division determines that the tree(s) are a threat to the public, then the owner of the property is required to have the tree(s) removed.  

When there is a dispute between neighbors about a hazardous tree, this is a civil issue and Fairfax County will not take action in these situations.   

When a hazardous tree is located on private property and is not threatening any public areas, then Fairfax County will not require the removal of the tree, but recommends that the property owner contact a tree removal contractor or arborist for advice on how to handle the situation.  Possible solutions may include pruning, providing external support for weakened trees, providing remedial care or removing the affected tree.  Find out how to hire an arborist.  

If you want to remove a tree on your property, you will need to find out if there are any conservation easements, Resource Protection Areas or Environmental Quality Corridors on your property.  You can check your property plat to find out if you have any of these areas designated on your property. In general, trees that are determined to be dead, diseased and/or dying can be removed from these areas by hand, but must be replaced with similar vegetation.  A representative of the Urban Forest Management Division will evaluate the tree(s) in this situation and provide recommendations for replacement.  If you are concerned about a tree on your property and you think it may be in a Resource Protection Area, Environmental Quality Corridor or conservation easement, contact the Urban Forest Management Division at 703-324-1770, TTY 711 or by e-mail.





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