Urban Forestry Permits
Urban forestry permits are issued for tree planting, tree pruning, tree removal/replacement in the public right of way. Permit requirements are based on specific site conditions and individual tree species. SDOT arborists review applications to ensure the health, preservation, and expansion of Seattle’s urban forest. For more information, visit SDOT Urban Forestry Arborist Office or call 206-684-TREE (8733).
Do you need a permit?
Yes. You probably do need a permit if your proposed work involves planting (type 1A) or removing/replacing (type 1C) a tree. If you are applying for a tree pruning permit (type 1B), if the work includes pruning branches or roots that are larger than 2 inches or greater, a permit is required.
There are four Urban Forestry permit types with separate permit requirements. See the table below:
*Mobility impacts are any impediment to free travel on the City’s rights-of-way. This includes pedestrians, bicycle travel, and vehicle travel. If there are mobility impacts with your project, these need to be described in full on your permit application. Depending on the location, extent of your work and the timing of your permit activities, a traffic control plan may be required.
Urban Forestry, along with SDOT Street Use, has adopted new Permit Application Forms.
Download the new Urban Forestry Permit Application Form (includes the Street Use General Application, which is also required with your application submission)
Or, you may fill out your application, scan it and email it to us via: Seattle.Trees@seattle.gov
Usually the wait time for a permit is 5 to 7 work days from our receipt of your completed application.
Other permitting details:
Approved permits will include site-specific requirements and best management practices (BMPs) that must be followed for the duration of the project.
Your approved permit must be maintained at the work site at all times.
Tree Planting: See our tree planting procedures web page. If you are planting a tree in the planting strip, you will need to choose a tree from our approved planting list and follow the details on the linked page.
Tree Pruning: See our tree pruning web page. There are tree pruning guides in 7 languages offering the best practices for tree maintenance.
Tree Removal and 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.
Contact the Arborist’s Office for more information or if you have questions. Seattle.Trees@seattle.gov or 206-684-TREE(8733).