Tree Removal & Replacement

Street Trees must be protected and preserved unless the permit application for the removal and replacement has been approved. Exceptions to this requirement are allowed for emergency removal necessary for public safety. City of Seattle policy may require monetary compensation and/or a replacement for every tree permitted for removal. Tree replacement is required, as site conditions allow, using the same or similar species that provides the same level of tree canopy at maturity.

The permit application for a removal requires a professional Tree Risk Evaluation and the tree is:

  • If the street tree is determined to be dead, or
  • If the tree is determined to be a hazardous tree, or
  • If the tree is a public safety hazard, or
  • If public or private construction related activities will negatively impact the viability of the tree to the extent that it is unlikely to survive.

A yellow Tree Removal Notice is required as part of every street tree removal permit. Removal Notices must be in place for a minimum of 14 days prior to removal as a condition of permit issuance. You may post a Tree Removal Notice yourself when submitting your removal permit application. You do not need to wait for permit approval to post the tree and begin the 14-day period. If you choose not to post the tree yourself, SDOT will post the removal notice at a later date when inspecting the tree.

Tree Removal Notices must be posted using the following standards:

  • Removal Notices must have black text on a yellow background.
  • Removal Notices must remain on the tree for at least 14 calendar days prior to removal.
  • You are advised to put the Notice in a plastic sleeve before posting to make it rain resistant. The person posting the Notice is responsible for ensuring it withstands the elements for the 14-day period.
  • Email SDOT Urban Forestry at Seattle.Trees@seattle.gov when you post a Tree Removal Notice.

Tree Removal Notices

For information on additional requirements to remove a street tree, please see the Street Tree Manual. Please note that simply posting a Tree Removal Notice for 14 days does not allow you to remove a street tree.