As strange as it may seem, in many North American cities, you need a permit to cut down a dead tree. Why? No one knows… but you need to get that permit, otherwise you may have to pay a hefty fine (200$ in my town)! I know this because I was visited by the local police a few years back after a dead tree (unfortunately with a charming young family of woodpeckers inside) came down in my back yard. I talked my way out of the fine on the grounds that I didn’t cut the tree down, it fell on its own. And even a cursory glance at the stump proved that my chain saw had never touched it. (I still wonder how in the world the police knew I was chopping up a tree in the privacy of my own back yard, but that’s another story…)
But supposing the tree is still alive? Egads! Do you honestly think you can cut down a live tree in a city? You’ll obviously need a permit, but it is unlikely the town will give you a permit to cut down a healthy tree without what it deems is a valid reason. Again, you expose yourself to a hefty fine if you do it anyway! My suggestion? Check with your town before you even think of cutting down a tree!
(In my town, the definition of a tree was one that was 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter at chest height, so I could theoretically have cut down a small dead tree without a permit… but I suggest you contact your municipality before you cut down a tree of any size, alive or dead, just in case!)
Ah, for the simple life of the country where I could cut down a whole forest and no one would care (only kidding!).