The City of Seattle is committed to protecting our urban canopy. Trees add value to your property and the surrounding community. Canopy cover is one important measure of the health of the urban forest. Urban trees provide numerous ecological, economic, and social benefits, including wildlife habitat, neighborhood livability, and improved public health outcomes.
The City Council passed Council Bill 120207 requiring 1) tree service providers to register with the City of Seattle before conducting commercial tree work and consultations on private property and 2) property owners to post a public notice on-site before any tree work beyond routine maintenance. The tree service provider registry will be accessible to the public so that owners, residents, and neighbors can be assured a registered company knowledgeable with tree regulations and best practices is completing work in their neighborhood.
A tree service provider is any company that removes or maintains trees on private property. Your company will need to register if those actions are part of your hired duties, or you may need to hire a registered company to complete those tasks. For example, if tree removal is part of a demolition contract, the company hired to clear any trees over 6 inches in diameter standard height must be registered.
Tree Service Provider Registry Requirements
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) launched a new tree service provider registry on August 26, 2022. The SDCI Trees and Codes webpage has been updated with registry requirements. SDCI will publish a directory of registered tree service providers eligible to complete tree work beyond routine maintenance on private property in Seattle to that page.
- Beginning August 26, tree service providers should create an account and register with SDCI at the Seattle Services Portal.
- All tree service providers that conduct removal*, major pruning**, or consulting services for trees in Seattle*** must register by November 10, 2022.
- Tree service providers must commit to following the tree protection regulations found in Seattle Municipal Code 25.11, Director’s Rule 16-2008, and ANSI A-300 Standards (or subsequent standard).
- Failure to register or receiving two violation notices will prevent tree service providers from being eligible to conduct business in Seattle.
- Please note that the SDCI tree service provider registry covers work on private property and is different from the SDOT tree service provider registry that regulates work that occurs in the public right-of-way. You must register on each one separately; links to each may be found at the Seattle Services Portal.
*Removing any tree over 6 inches in diameter.
**Major pruning work for any tree on private property. Major pruning is removing any branch or root 2 inches in diameter or greater, or the removal of more than 15% of the tree canopy. You do not need to be registered to complete other routine pruning and maintenance of trees.
***Conducting tree assessments for an arborist report.
Property Owner Requirements
- Starting November 11, you must hire a registered tree service provider to complete most tree work on your property. You will be able to view the list of registered providers on the SDCI Trees and Codes webpage in October.
- Starting November 11, property owners are required to post a public notice of major pruning or removal of trees on the property at least three days before a tree service provider starts the work. To create the public notice, you must complete the form that will be available at the Seattle Services Portal in October.
- Property owners completing routine pruning and tree maintenance on their property are not required to register or post a notice.
A new Draft Director’s Rule 8-2022 to help clarify the new legislation was published on September 19. A new Tip to help applicants navigate the registration and public notice processes will be published soon.
To help you better understand the registration requirements, property owner responsibilities, and the Seattle tree codes, SDCI will be hosting another informational webinar at the end of October – details to follow! A recorded version of the informational webinar will also be posted to the SDCI Trees and Codes webpage.
If you have questions about the tree service requirements, or wish to be informed of upcoming webinars, submit a request via SDCI’s Online Service. To help your request get to the right spot, please indicate that you need help with “Permits, codes, zones, plans” then select “Land Use” as the type of help you need followed by “Trees” in the description field. Be sure to include your email address in the form to stay current on implementation of the tree service provider registry.