Specimen Trees

Any tree that has been individually designated by the county arborist to be notable by virtue of its outstanding size and quality for its particular species.

Specimen trees are defined as any tree in fair or better condition which equals or exceeds the following diameter sizes:

  • Large hardwoods, i.e. oaks, hickories, yellow poplars, and similar species: Thirty (30) inches DBH.
  • Large softwoods, e.g. pines, evergreens, and similar species: Thirty (30) inches DBH.
  • Small trees, e.g. dogwoods, redbuds, sourwoods, and similar species: Ten (10) inches DBH.

A tree in fair or better condition should meet the following minimum standards:

  • A life expectancy of greater than fifteen (15) years.
  • A relatively sound and solid trunk with no extensive decay or hollow, and less than twenty (20) percent radial trunk dieback.
  • No major insect or pathological problem.

A lesser-sized tree can be considered a specimen if:

  • It is a rare or unusual species or of historical significance.
  • It is specifically used by a builder, developer, or design professional as a focal point in a project or landscape.
  • It is a tree with exceptional aesthetic quality.

Read the entire DeKalb County Code for specimen trees on Municode at: