How to Choose an Arborist

Here in Atlanta, taking down dead trees is a matter that often requires a professional. Many cases in the city and county require a permit for tree removal and the services of a licensed arborist. What do you need to know about how to apply for a permit and hire an arborist to help you take down your dead tree? Let’s take a closer look. 

Size and Density Requirements

In the city of Atlanta, homeowners need to know that permits are required to remove hardwood trees at least six inches in diameter and pines at least five inches. Tree density, or the number of trees on the property, will also require permits and an arborist. It’s always best to check with the city or country before planning to remove any trees from your property. 

Applying for a Permit

If you have a dead, dying, or diseased tree that needs to come down, start by filling out a tree removal permit. You can find this online, and it can be emailed, mailed, faxed, or delivered in-person to the City of Atlanta Arborist Division. If you’re in the county or surrounding cities, check with officials in your area. 

Arborist Certifications

When picking an arborist to remove trees from your property, you’ll need to look at their certifications. Several associations exist, but only the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers a certification program. ISA arborists will display this logo for their business. 


You will also want to work with someone who is insured. Ask for proof of insurance, including property damage, personal insurance, and worker’s compensation. You should also verify the policies by calling the companies insuring the business. 


Before hiring an arborist, you will also do your due diligence by reaching out to references. Contact their references and ask for photos so you can see how the work was completed. Ask them if they are satisfied with the services. 

Quotes for Service

Before agreeing to any work, ask for quotes. You will want to compare more than one arborist before deciding and weigh their pricing along with references. Do not agree to have any work completed until you sign a contract with the arborist. 

Metro Atlanta Counties

Metro Atlanta counties provide tree ordinances in order to cultivate a high level of tree preservation. In Fulton County and Gwinnett County, a permit is needed to remove any specimen tree in fair or better condition. These include large hardwoods, large softwoods and small native flowering trees. DeKalb County requires a permit for removing more than five trees or any specimen trees of a certain size. If you plan to remove trees in Cobb County, in addition to their regulations, a plan must be submitted to replant trees in the place of those being removed. Your county’s website is your best source for up-to-date and complete details on the regulations.

Do you want to know more about the trees on your property before buying or selling a home?

Maison Atlanta & Co is a full-service real estate company with over 100 years of combined experience buying and selling homes in any market. As a member of Keller Knapp Realty, Maison Atlanta and Co has innovation and technology at our fingertips to help our clients meet and exceed their real estate goals and expectations. Call us today.