Tree Protection and Removal Guidelines by Municipality

For tree removal considerations, the Greater Charleston area is segmented into cities, towns, and county jurisdictions. Prior to any tree removal attempt, homeowners should verify the jurisdiction of their residence to avoid potential fines and mitigation sanctions for unauthorized removal. Follow these guidelines for your tree care plans, but always contact your town hall before commencing work to ensure compliance with local ordinances. Tree removals necessitate measuring the tree’s trunk at breast height (DBH) to determine eligibility.

Complete Tree Service is licensed to operate in the following areas, possessing extensive knowledge of their permitting requirements. Our professional arborist maintains strong relationships with city arborists and administrators, ensuring adherence to regulations and minimizing bureaucratic delays for faster customer service. When allowed, Complete Tree Service can even handle permit applications on behalf of homeowners if permitted by their respective jurisdiction.

Mt Pleasant

Designated “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation for over 20 years, Mt Pleasant has stringent guidelines for tree preservation. Trees with a DBH over 16″ are considered protected and require a permit for removal, except for specific exempt species. Larger protected trees over 24″ DBH necessitate a variance and approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Homeowners need to obtain their own permits in Mt Pleasant, but our certified arborist can assist by providing a letter for protected tree removal due to damage, disease, or compromise.

Isle of Palms

Any tree or branch over 8″ in diameter requires a removal permit. Contact 843-886-9912 for permission before cutting trees on the Isle of Palms. A certified arborist’s letter is required to remove damaged, diseased, or compromising trees over 8″. Complete Tree Service’s certified arborist can facilitate this process at no cost when choosing our services.

Sullivan’s Island

A permit is needed for the removal of any tree or branch over 6″ DBH. Sullivan’s Island enforces strict guidelines for cutting activities, with fines for violations. Verification of business licensing is required, and companies must display the Sullivan’s Island sticker on their vehicles. Choose Complete Tree Service, and we will pull permits on Sullivan’s Island.

City of Charleston

The City of Charleston protects all trees except pines and sweet gums over 24″ DBH. Removal of these protected trees requires a site visit and a permit from the city. Schedule by calling 843-724-3781. Homeowners must secure their own permits for tree removal in Charleston.

Charleston County

For single-family residences, Charleston County protects all trees except pines greater than 24″ DBH. Removal of trees exceeding 24″ DBH requires a site visit and permit. For multi-family units, a buffer must be retained, and trees of 8″ or more are protected. Call 843-202-7200 for information or to apply for a permit. Homeowners are responsible for obtaining their own tree removal permits in Charleston County.

Stump Grinding Tree Services

After tree removal, a stump remains. In natural or erosion-prone areas, leaving the stump is encouraged. In inconspicuous or landscaped areas, stump grinding is recommended for cost-effective removal. The stump grinder grinds all woody material, including roots, to about 4-6″ below grade. In specific cases, such as site preparation for a hardscape or a pool, the stump may be pulled with a backhoe at a higher cost.