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 Inspections (SDCI) launched a new tree service provider registry on August 26, 2022. The SDCI tree code webpage has been updated with the directory of registered tree service providers eligible to complete tree work beyond routine maintenance on private property in Seattle in accordance with the tree code.
- Beginning August 26, tree service providers are able to create an account and register with SDCI through the Seattle Services Portal trees page.
- All tree service providers that conduct removal*, major pruning**, or consulting services for trees in Seattle*** must be registered for any work starting November 10, 2022, or later.
- Tree service providers must commit to following the tree protection regulations found in SMC 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 on the Seattle Services Portal trees page.
*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 10th, you must hire a registered tree service provider to complete most tree work on your property. You can view the list of registered providers on the SDCI tree code webpage.
- Starting November 10th, property owners are required to post a public notice for 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 create an account and complete the form that will be available at https://cosaccela.seattle.gov/portal/Customization/pages/trees.aspx.
- Property owners completing their own routine pruning and tree maintenance on their property are not required to register or post a notice.
- Public notice is not required for abatement of hazardous trees.
- The Public Notice Search page on the Portal will also be updated and you can specify whether you are searching for public notices or SDCI tree public notices.
Resources & More Information
- To help you better understand the registration requirements, property owner responsibilities, and the Seattle tree codes, SDCI will be hosting another informational webinar on November 3 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.! Register to attend: https://bit.ly/treecode.
- New Director’s Rule 8-2022 to help clarify the new legislation went into effect on October 25, 2022.
- Two new Tips to help applicants navigate the registration (Tip 242C) and public notice (Tip 242D) processes will be published soon and posted to the SDCI tree code webpage.
- Visit the SDCI tree code webpage for more information and latest updates.
If you have questions about the tree service requirements, you may call the Tree Service Provider Registry phone line at (206) 233-5185 or contact us through our Submit a Request form. To help route your request, indicate that you need help with “Permits, codes, zones, plans,” then select “Land Use” as the type of help you need, and then select “Trees” in the description field.