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Tree Pruning and Removal Permits

Urban Forestry, along with SDOT Street Use, has adopted new Permit Application Forms.

Tree Pruning/Removal Permit Application

You may submit completed forms via email to

Tree Service Providers


Tree Pruning/Removal Requests:
revised November 8, 2011

Seattle City Ordinance requires that all persons who prune and/or remove privately maintained trees within the public right-of-way area obtain a street use permit. The City Arborist office issues the permit (Note: a privately maintained tree is defined as any tree found growing within the public right-of-way area that has not been planted or is being maintained by the City of Seattle).

To obtain a permit, download, print and fill out the request form and return it to the City Arborist office.

The City Arborist or his representative will:

  1. Make a field visit to the proposed work area to verify the extent and type of work to be done, including the types, number, and location of trees to be pruned or removed.
  2. Require that all work will be done according to Seattle Transportation's Tree Pruning Guidelines and that all contracted work be performed by a qualified tree service company.
  3. Require a non-refundable, $147.00 permit fee and a minimum $150.00 deposit. The deposit is refundable provided the work has been completed to the City's satisfaction. The Arborist will use the following criteria to determine when a permit fee and minimum deposit will be required:
    • In all cases where the tree pruning/removal work is done in unopened rights-of-way, the Arborist will require a permit fee of $147.00 and a minimum $150.00 deposit.
    • Where pruning or removal of trees on the planting strip area requires specialized equipment or the services of a tree service company, a permit fee and deposit will be required. The exception is if the tree service company is using equipment with a valid annual permit registered with our Street Use section. In such cases the Arborist may waive additional permit fees; however, a permit for each individual job is still required.

The Arborist may decide to waive the permit fee if the work to prune or remove a tree does not require the use of any specialized equipment and does not require the services of a hired person(s).

  1. All permits issued for fee will require the tree service company performing the work pick up the permit at Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 23rd Floor.
  2. The contractor or citizen will be required to maintain a safe work area at all times and ensure the public be protected at all times. All tree removals must be flush to the ground, or the tree stumps must be ground to a minimum of six inches below grade. Additionally, all debris must be cleared and removed from the right-of-way area.
  3. The Arborist’s Office is able to provide a notification for posting on a tree that is identified for removal.  For specifics, please go to: and review Client Assistance Memo 2307

All permitted work must be completed within 60 working days from start to completion of work. To initiate a Tree Pruning and/or Tree Removal Permit, please download, print and complete the request form and return to the City Arborist office.

Please address all correspondence to:

Seattle Department of Transportation
City Arborist's Office
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996


If you have any questions, call 206-684-TREE (8733) for more information.

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