Grand Oak Regulations

Grand Oaks deserve special attention when being pruned or removed. When a tree reaches Grand Oak status, it’s one of the largest and oldest specimens of its kind in our area, and it has withstood decades of development, deforestation, windstorms and hurricanes, to prove that it is one of the hardiest and sturdiest trees of its species.

What is a Grand Oak?

The following features determine whether a tree is considered a Grand Oak:

  • Belongs to the genus Quercus
  • Trunk measures at least 34 inches diameter at breast height (DBH – measured at 4.5 feet above grade)
  • Has a tree condition rating of good or better according the tree condition evaluation form
  • Trunk circumference, height and crown measurements must total a minimum of 175 points in accordance to the tree point system methodology

Tree Point System

The Tree Point System classifies the significance of a tree through three measurements of the tree’s anatomy and gives a point value for each measurement:
  • 1 point per inch is allotted for the tree trunk circumference to the nearest inch measured at 4.5 feet above grade
  • 1 point per foot is allotted for the tree’s overall height
  • 1 point per 4 feet is allotted for the crown spread to the nearest foot, averaging a measurement of the longest and shortest dimension of the tree’s canopy

Removal and Replacement

  • You must preserve all trees identified as Grand Oaks unless we authorize their removal. This provision does not apply for a Grand Oak located in:
    • road site distances
    • recovery and maintenance areas
      • unless our Engineers find that a Grand Oak may be preserved in these areas
  • You must replace a Grand Oak, if we authorized removal using the following replacement guides:
    • 34" < 48" DBH = 1:1
    • 48" < 60" DBH = 1.5:1
    • 60" DBH and greater = 2:1
  • This replacement requirement, however, will not apply if we determine that removal will cause damage to public or private property with no other remedy
  • Replacement of a Grand Oak for these situations doesn’t exceed 20% of the DBH trunk diameter unless we determine a lesser amount is appropriate

Pruning

  • Unless you are doing minor pruning (3” or less), you must have the work done by an Arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or a Registered Consulting Arborist with the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA)
    • Minor Pruning means removing branches measuring no greater than 3" in diameter at the point of connection to a supporting branch
  • Prior to the pruning, you must submit a notarized affidavit affirming that a certified or registered arborist will conduct or supervise the pruning on-site
  • The arborist you contract will assume full responsibility for all pruning activities

Resources

Contact

For more information contact the Natural Resources unit at (813) 272-5600, ext. 5, option 1.