Copyright 2023 by Forsyth County, Georgia

Tree Ordinance

Recognizing the significant environmental, economic, and social benefit of trees, the Forsyth County Tree Ordinance provides standards that guide development and incorporate trees into land use planning. Establishing a healthy and sustainable urban and community forest will preserve and enhance the quality of life within the county, while at the same time enhance economic growth and development. The Tree Ordinance requires that all commercial and industrial sites and major residential subdivisions maintain a minimum tree density following development. Tree removal by homeowners on their property is exempt from the requirements of the Tree Ordinance.

Important Links

Forsyth County UGA Extension Office  

David Ohlrich  | Arborist

Forsyth County Department of Planning & Community Development
110 E. Main Street, Suite 100 | Cumming, Georgia 30040
770-205-4562 direct | (770) 781-2115 main

Bob White  | Arborist

Forsyth County Department of Planning & Community Development
110 E. Main Street, Suite 100 | Cumming, Georgia 30040
678-455-9920 direct | (770) 781-2115 main

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit to remove a tree in my yard?

No, you may remove a tree on your residential property without a permit.  

Dead, dying, or hazardous trees within exterior buffers may only be removed if recommended by an ISA Certified Arborist.  The property owner will need to acquire the services of a Certified Arborist, have them examine the tree and provide a report justifying the removal.  The tree may need to be replaced if the effectiveness of the buffer is lessened by its removal.  The report needs to be sent to the County Arborist for review.

For information on removal of trees within Stream Buffers, please contact the Department of Engineering at (770) 781-2165.

I am concerned about the health of my tree. Who do I call to evaluate it?

Consulting Arborists specialize in individual tree care and provide professional services including tree health evaluation, tree risk assessment and other advice related to tree care. Be sure to hire a Certified Arborist credentialed by the International Society of Arboriculture. An online search for Certified Arborists is available on their website at:

There is a dead, diseased or leaning tree on my neighbor’s property, can the County require the owner to remove it?

No, this issue is a civil matter that must be settled between the parties involved or possibly the civil court system.

Can I clear all the trees from my property?

Timber harvesting and other forestry management practices are permissible only in Agricultural Zoning Districts. Property that has been clear cut is NOT eligible for rezoning for three years following the clear cutting.