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Tree Survey Terms

CERTIFIED ARBORIST: A specialist in the care of individual trees, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture as a Certified Arborist.

CLEAR-CUTTING: The removal of all of the trees or a sizeable majority of trees within an area.

CRITICAL ROOT ZONE: The area of untouched natural soil around a tree defined by a circle whose center is the center of the trunk of the tree and a radius equal to the distance from the trunk to the outermost portion of the drip line.

DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT (DBH): The diameter of a tree trunk, measured at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the ground. In the case of a multi-trunk tree, the total of the diameter of the largest trunk and one half (1/2) of the diameter of each additional trunk.

DRIP LINE: The shape formed around a tree by a series of vertical lines that run through the outermost portion of the canopy of the tree and extend to the ground.

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: A person licensed by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners as a landscape architect.

NON-DISTURBANCE AREA. Any area within which no grading or other development activities will take place.

PROTECTED TREE: A tree which by virtue of its size, species, or some other feature, is protected from removal or destruction. The standard for achieving “protected” status varies by jurisdiction.

SELECTIVE THINNING: The removal of selected trees from within a heavily forested area.

TREE: Any self-supporting woody perennial plant which will attain a trunk diameter of two inches (2") or more and an overall height of at least fifteen feet (15’) at maturity, usually with one (1) main stem or trunk and many branches.

TREE SURVEY: A drawing prepared by a licensed surveyor that provides the location, size, and details of trees within a specific area.

TREE TOPPING: The severe cutting back of limbs within the tree’s crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.