tree removal

To remove a tree from your property in the Seattle area, you may need to navigate what seems like a maze of regulations and requirements. Different cities impose varying rules about tree removal. In many cases, the rules depend on the tree and your situation.

To shed light on whether you can remove a tree on your property, let’s delve into some of the specifics of tree removal regulations and the steps to obtain a permit.

City-Specific Tree Removal Requirements

Tree Removal in Seattle

In the City of Seattle, you typically may not remove trees unless there is a safety hazard or a proposed new development. That said, there are plenty of exceptions. You can read the relevant Municipal Code section for more specific details.

Even if you are allowed to remove a tree, you will likely need to apply for a review from the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI). You may also need to provide public notice and check that your tree service provider is registered in SDCI’s Tree Service Provider Registry. If you have questions about this process, feel free to reach out to a professional tree service provider registered with the City of Seattle, like Tree Harmony Arborists.

Tree Removal in Kirkland

The Kirkland strives to keep at least 40% tree canopy cover throughout the area. Typically, you are allowed to remove up to 2 trees within 12 months on a lot up to 10,000 square feet unless there will be less than 2 trees left. If you have a larger lot, you can remove more trees, but you will also need to maintain more trees on your property.

Large trees have special requirements. For trees that are 26” in diameter or larger, you may typically remove up to 1 every 12 months as long as you have a permit and there aren’t special restrictions on your lot. However, you are required to plant 3 replacement trees from an approved list of species.

If the tree is along a street or on public property, you must apply for a permit to remove it. The tree must present a hazard that can’t be mitigated with pruning or other routine maintenance. It’s also important to note that the City won’t accept a new development permit if you have removed healthy, regular-size trees within the past 12 months or large trees within the past 24 months.

Kirkland’s fee for most tree removal permits is $579 plus a 3.5% surcharge. If you are removing a healthy landmark tree, the permit costs $290 plus 3.5% surcharge, but you must also pay a mandatory recording fee of $305 for all required mitigation trees.

Tree Removal in Other Puget Sound Cities

tree removal

Each city in the Seattle area has its own set of regulations governing tree removal. These regulations often dictate whether a tree can be removed. They may consider factors like size, species, property zoning, and construction activities on the property.

Some cities require you to have a tree removal permit, especially for larger trees or those located in protected areas. Depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances, you may need to submit an application and pay a fee to obtain a permit. If you don’t adhere to these rules, you may face fines or other penalties.

In some cases, you may not be allowed to remove a tree, especially if it’s deemed significant or protected under local ordinances. Protected trees often include heritage trees, those located in environmentally critical areas, or species deemed important for maintaining biodiversity. If you have one of these trees, you may not be allowed to remove it except under extreme circumstances.

You can read more about your city’s tree removal regulations on your local government website:

A professional arborist can help you determine what type of tree you have and whether you are legally allowed to remove it.

How to Obtain a Permit For Tree Removal

In the Seattle area, the process for obtaining a tree removal permit typically involves the following steps:

  1. Determine if your tree removal requires a permit. Check city tree removal guidelines, then assess the size, species, and location of the tree to ascertain if a permit is necessary.
  2. Prepare the required documentation for the permit. This may include a site plan indicating the tree’s location, photographs, and a justification for removal.
  3. Submit the permit application. Complete the application form and submit it to the appropriate city department, along with any supporting documents and applicable fees.
  4. Wait for approval. The city will review your application and either approve or deny the permit based on local regulations.

You can check with your local city government or talk to a professional arborist if you need help with this process.

Need Help With Tree Removal and Permitting? Contact Tree Harmony

Navigating tree removal regulations can be daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone. Tree Harmony Arborists offer expertise in local tree-related regulations and tree health. Our team of certified arborists can help you determine if your tree can be removed legally and guide you through the process, ensuring safety and compliance with local regulations every step of the way.

Understanding tree removal regulations in your city is crucial before you take action to remove any trees. With expert assistance from Tree Harmony Arborists, you can navigate the process with confidence.

Contact Us