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206-684-TREE (8733)
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A Tree Pruning Guide for Seattle residents available in the following languages:


Please share this link with others. If you see an error or would like to translate into other languages, please send an email to

Tree Pruning

Trees are pruned to provide clearance for other plants and objects, to provide more light penetration, as well as to frame views and improve the health of the tree. Pruning trees combines art and science. A skilled pruner will leave the tree looking like it was barely touched. Please be careful when you are using tools to prune. When using a saw, always hold the branch you may be removing with your free hand above the cut.

For trees that may be large and require climbing or are near powerlines, hire a professional who is an ISA Certified Arborist.

You must also get a permit to prune or remove a street tree, if you perform the work yourself, or if you hire a professional to do the work.

The informational brochures have been written and collected as a resourced for you to learn more about tree pruning. Translations are in the works and we hope to add more languages to list. If you see an error or would like to help with translation, please contact SDOT Urban Forestry at 684-8733.

Translating pruning information for non English speaking gardeners was made possible by a grant from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks and funds from the USDA Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources, with other assistance from the City of Seattle, awarded through the Natural Resource Stewardship Network.

Assistance and encouragement was also provided from the International Society of Arboriculture, PlantAmnesty, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Forestry students at the University of Washington, and students in the Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development program.

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