Rockoff Tree Solutions is the number-one independent provider of tree maintenance services in many areas across Texas. As Boerne’s certified arborist, our professionals receive many inquiries about heritage trees and whether they can eliminate or transfer them from their properties with a tree removal permit. Texas state laws can be confusing, as legislators balance cultural values, the rights of nature, and property ownership privileges through their attitudes on tree removal.
Our arborists and heritage tree care experts will explain the purpose heritage trees serve for animals, people, and woodlands in Texas. We will also outline whether you can remove them like an ordinary individual tree.
What Are Heritage Trees?
Heritage trees are unique, ancient, and often sizeable trees with historical and cultural significance to the residents of a particular city. For example, the Town of Pelham, Ontario, created a conservation area for the Comfort Maple. According to the Ontario Forestry Association, the Comfort Maple is over 400 years old, with a six-meter trunk circumference that symbolizes the traditions and strength of the maple industry in Canada.
The Portland, Oregon, government keeps a detailed tally of every Designated Heritage Tree in the United States. States have different attitudes and legislations regarding heritage trees, but arborists find a common thread in most of them. Contractors need a government-issued permit to transfer, cut down, or alter the appearance of heritage trees, which is also true in Texas.
How to Spot Heritage Trees
Heritage trees can add or remove value from your property because they often feature large canopies and evergreen leaves that require pruning and additional yard work. The Texas government calls heritage trees Monarch Trees, as it views them as irreplaceable and rare based on their size, age, ecological significance, and value for botanical science.
Heritage trees have a trunk diameter of 24 inches or greater. You can measure this value by wrapping a tape measure on the trunk of your tree 4.5 feet from the ground. Divide the resulting figure by 3.1416 to get the diameter.
A few heritage trees have a trunk leaner than 24 inches, and some species are surprisingly common. Here is a list of Texan heritage trees:
- The Texas Ash, which grows through the center of Texas to Southern Oklahoma and north Mexico
- The Bald Cypress, a deciduous tree over 50 feet tall, matures on the coasts of Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas
- The Texas Madrone, a multi-trunked evergreen flowering tree that grows in Central Texas to New Mexico
- The Bigtooth Maple, which grows on sandy loam and clay deposits from Arizona, New Mexico, and Trans-Pecos Texas
- The American Elm, which can grow over 100 feet tall, grows in over 20 states
- All oak trees
- Pecan trees, which can grow over 100 feet in stream banks and wooded bottomlands in Alabama and Texas
- The Arizona Walnut, which grows in canyons and dry stream banks from Central Texas to Chiapas
- The Eastern Black Walnut, a deciduous tree that can exceed 50 feet in height
When a city department creates a policy or design that necessitates the elimination of a Designated Heritage Tree, the Development and Review Department could request a modification to save it.
Can You Remove Heritage Trees?
Heritage trees are challenging to remove legally. Instead, many builders incorporate them into their exterior structures, much like the Hotel Magdalena in Austin.
The state government may grant a removal request if the tree poses a safety hazard or is in poor health before acquiring the property. A public hearing with the Land Use Commission is often required.