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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: New SDOT Street Tree Manual Now Available

12/18/2014  11:30:00 AM
Norm Mah  (206) 684-8114

New SDOT Street Tree Manual Now Available
A one-stop guide on tree care and city requirements for all Seattleites

SEATTLE – A new Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Street Tree Manual is now available, providing a detailed, one-stop tree care reference for residents, developers, contractors and tree service providers. It explains the requirements and standards established by the 2013 Street Tree Ordinance, which was updated for the first time in 50 years. 

Though it focuses on trees in the public right of way, the new manual is an overall guide on tree care and vegetation management. In it are specifics on city permitting, prohibited acts, pruning, planting, removal and protection during construction. 

“Our new Street Tree Manual provides clear and helpful guidance for everyone involved in maintaining the urban canopy,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “Its guidelines will both protect and promote the trees that make Seattle ‘the Emerald City.’”

The updated Street Tree Ordinance (Seattle Municipal Code 15.43) requires that tree service providers working on trees in the right of way be registered with the city, and be familiar with its requirements and tree care standards. The new manual helps ensure that familiarity, while educating Seattleites on ways to preserve and build lush green neighborhoods. Future plans for the manual include translation into additional languages and neighborhood outreach.

“Our trees are a critical city resource and we need everyone’s help in preserving them,” said SDOT Urban Forestry Manager Darren Morgan. “Research has proven that streets lined with healthy trees improve public health, protect water quality and enhance the neighborhood experience.”

The City of Seattle owns nearly 40,000 street trees and maintains them with two full time street tree crews. Property owners are responsible for maintaining any street trees in the public right of way adjacent to their property, unless identified as City-maintained, and the trees on their own property which impact public space.

For more information visit or call 684-TREE.




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