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Trees for Seattle

Trees for Seattle is the umbrella for all of the City of Seattle's urban forestry efforts. Our commitment is to ensure that Seattle's urban forest is healthy, vital, and growing. You can find information through our website here, or you can contact us at treesforseattle@seattle.gov or 206-684-TREE (8733). You can also follow us on facebook or sign up for our monthly newsletter.


Explore Seattle's Street Trees

Have you ever wondered what neighborhood in Seattle has the most street trees? Or worried about the impact of invasive pests on our urban forest? Or wanted to know what work the Department of Transportation is doing for the trees along your street? Now there is a really easy way to answer those questions and many more.

Trees for Seattle is excited to launch an online story map outlining how we manage and care for Seattle’s valuable street trees. Our easy format will help you explore our management units, tree canopy cover, environmental justice focus, the resiliency of the urban forest, and much more. If you are a tree lover in Seattle, you are going to find something relevant to you - even if you are just looking for interesting trivia for your next dinner party.


Illegal Tree Removal

The City of Seattle counts on the public to report illegal tree removal.

On private property: If you observe what you think is a violation of Seattle's tree code on private property please report it to the Code Compliance Division of the Department of Construction and Inspections online or call the Code Compliance line at (206) 615-0808. (Open Mon, Thurs, Fri 8 am - 4:30 pm and Tues, Wed 10 am - 4:30 pm.) Code Compliance is only staffed to respond to complaints during business hours of the work week; messages will be addressed as soon as possible during business hours. The Seattle Police Department generally will not respond to suspected tree code violations. Please do this even if the trees have already been removed. 

Street tree removal: Trees in the right of way are regulated by the Seattle Department of Transportation. Concerns about street trees can be reported by calling (206) 684-TREE (8733) or emailing seattle.trees@seattle.gov

It is extremely helpful to report these three essential pieces of information:

1. Site or property address. Code Compliance can’t look for a location that does not have an address. However, if it is a vacant lot or otherwise has no address, note this and provide the addresses of the lots on either side of where the violation is occurring.

2. Pictures of the tree(s). It is helpful to have something else in the picture to give the investigator an idea of the size of the tree(s). That could be something of a known common size, such as a person, a car, or house.

3. Picture of tree cutting/removal company truck with company name. Or, if no name, the license plate number and state.


2016 Canopy Cover Study

Canopy cover is the percent of the city that's covered by trees, as seen in an aerial view. Canopy cover is an important management tool for the City to understand the extent and distribution of trees in Seattle. Seattle's goal, established in 2007, is to reach 30% canopy cover by 2037. The City of Seattle’s most recent canopy cover study, using data from 2016, found that 28% of Seattle is covered with trees. You can find more information here.


Stop Tree Topping

If your trees are being pruned, be sure they are not being topped. Tree topping is an outdated pruning practice that indiscriminately removes large amounts of leaves and branches. It looks terrible, causes serious damage to the tree, and often turns a safe tree into a safety hazard. Check out this great resource from the City of Tacoma on why tree topping is a terrible way to treat your tree. If you are hiring someone to prune your trees, make sure they are an ISA Certified Arborist. A legitimate arborist will never recommend tree topping.

Street Tree Manual Available

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has a great new resource to provide a one-stop tree care reference for residents, developers, contractors, and tree service providers. The manual outlines the requirements and standards established in the 2013 Street Tree Ordinance. Click this link to open and explore the new manual.

If you have questions about the manual, contact SDOT at (206) 684-TREE or Seattle.Trees@seattle.gov.




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