A North Carolina church has been fined $100 per branch for improperly pruning its trees, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Every two to three years, according to the paper, Eddie Sales trims the trees on the property surrounding the Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church.
But this year, the city of Charlotte issued the church a fine of $100 per branch cut for excessive pruning, bringing the violation to $4,000.
"I just couldn't believe it when I heard about it," Sales told the Observer. "We trim our trees back every three years all over our property, and this is the first time we have been fined."
The fine will be dropped if the church replaces each of the improperly pruned trees, said Tom Johnson, senior urban forester for city of Charlotte Land Development Division.
Charlotte has had a tree ordinance since 1978, and when trees are incorrectly pruned or topped, people can be subject to fines, Johnson said.