Health And Safety Protocols

Health and Safety Protocols for Existing Landscape Trees

The City of Dallas encourages the protection of 'large trees which, once removed, can be replaced only after generations'. The protection of all suitable trees help sustain the infrastructure of the city and encourage the conservation of green spaces. 

These conditions are subject to review and amendment at the discretion of the building official.


Definitions:
Site tree - Definition (city arborist) - a large or small tree, that is pre-existing or planted on a lot or tract, and is represented on a landscape plan to address mandatory landscape requirements in conjunction with a building permit, meets these health and safety protocols established by the city arborist, and complies with the requirements of Section 51A-10.125(b)(3).

Street tree - Definition (city arborist) - a large tree that is pre-existing or planted on a lot or tract, or within a public right-of-way, is represented on a landscape plan to address mandatory landscape requirements in conjunction with a building permit, and meets these health and safety protocols established by the city arborist, and complies with the requirements of Section 51A-10.125(b)(4). 

Parking lot tree - Definition (city arborist) - a large canopy tree that is pre-existing or planted on a lot or tract, is represented on a landscape plan to address mandatory landscape requirements in conjunction with a building permit, and meets these health and safety protocols established by the city arborist, and complies with the requirements of Section 51A-10.125(b)(5). 

Invasive species - an alien species 'whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.' - Executive Order 13112  

Texas Parks and Wildlife identifies one tree in the Dallas region that is on the list as noxious or invasive plants that may not be sold, distributed or imported in the state of Texas without the approval of TP&W. This is the Chinese tallow tree (- Texas Department of Agriculture Regulatory Division). The chinaberry, Ailanthus and Mimosa are also considered invasive species by the Texas Forest Service. 
  


Procedures:

On properties with uses other than single family or duplex status, landscape trees (protected and non-protected) are to be evaluated equally. (10.123(b)(9)) 
Non-protected trees will be evaluated in similar fashion to protected trees for use as site, street and parking lot tree uses.  (10.123(b)(9))
All trees identified by the owner to be used to meet Article X landscape requirements must be accurately identified by species on the landscape plan. (10.123(b)(7) and (b)(9))
In order to obtain site tree credit, the non-protected tree must be fully protected from all construction activity as is required for all protected trees. (10.136)
Non-protected trees will be given no more than one site tree credit.  Protected trees will be allowed multiple site tree credits based on regional arborist review for tree health and other provided criteria. (10.125(b)(3)(B))
All trees (protected and non-protected) must be evaluated to be suitable for obtaining site tree credit. Protected trees will be provided multiple site tree credits if shown to be adequately protected (per code 10.136) and in a healthy growing condition at time of evaluation. This determination is subject to change at any time during initial site review, through plan review and through to the final site landscape inspection.
Trees not identified on a submitted landscape plan (prescribed under Section 51A-10.123) by the permit applicant will not be counted as a landscape site tree by the city arborist. 
These provisions shall apply to all landscape provisions within ordinances in the City of Dallas unless specifically called out to be otherwise.

The city arborist shall make final determination of the tree status based upon their review of the tree and the visual analysis of its health, environmental conditions surrounding the tree, and the protocols established by the chief arborist.  

Appeal may be made directly to the chief arborist if the owner, or representative, presents a report from an independent inspection of the tree(s) by a credentialled arborist. All other appeals are subject to Article X conditions.  




The following Health and Safety Protocols for Existing Trees must be met for each tree to qualify for any site tree credit.

Health:
1) No existing tree will be credited if it is not fully protected through methods described in Section 51A-10.136 (refer to Safety items 1 and 2).

2) No existing tree will be credited if the city arborist determines the structure, estimated longevity, or growing habit have been compromised by, or is limited by, surrounding man-made structures and materials, topography, surrounding competitive vegetation, previous or current filling, grading or excavation, or any mechanical or chemical injury.

3) No existing tree will be credited if it is determined that the site configurations for new structural and paving development shown on the landscape plan do not, in the opinion of the city arborist, adequately protect the tree from significant structural root damage.

4) No existing tree will be credited if trenching occurs under the dripline of the tree, unless the regional arborist determines the damage to the root structure should not significantly restrict or endanger the health of the tree.

5) No existing tree will be credited if the regional arborist determines that diseases, insects, or other natural elements have degraded the tree to significantly reduce the long term health and longevity of the tree.

6) No existing tree will be credited if the regional arborist determines that the structural integrity of the tree has been compromised naturally, or otherwise, and would create a significant risk or hazard to the future use of the property and citizens by retaining the tree.

7) No existing tree will be credited if the regional arborist determines that the tree is in decline or appears significantly impaired by existing soil or other environmental conditions.

8) No existing tree will be credited that is listed as an invasive, or alien, species by one or more state or federal department or agency. In the State of Texas, this list will include Chinese tallow tree, chinaberry, Ailanthus (Tree of heaven) and mimosa. 


Safety:
1) No protected tree will be credited that is at any time in violation of the requirements of Section 51A-10.136, 'Preservation of protected trees during construction or other disturbance.'

2) No non-protected trees (as defined in Article X under 'protected trees') will be credited that is not fully protected, as prescribed for protected trees under Section 51A-10.136.

3) No existing tree will be credited within a utility easement or that has its primary growth structure within 10 feet of a overhead utility, or within 5 feet of an underground utility.

4) No existing tree will be credited that has greater than a 40% crown loss due to utility maintenance or adjacent property maintenance.

5) No existing tree will be credited that has its primary growth structure within 5 feet of an existing or previous building, or growing within currently or previously paved surface, unless the regional arborist can reasonably determine the scope of the construction will not interfere with the current progress of the tree and is not hindered by any other issue.

6) No existing tree will be credited that is shared with an adjacent property, or property owner. In these cases, a shared tree will be a tree which has its primary growth structure on the determined property line. Future impact of the tree by the adjacent property owner is uncertain.

7) No existing tree will be credited that is in violation of city code requirements for street or sidewalk clearance at time of final landscape inspection.

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