In April, 2022 the City of Seattle passed regulations to help protect our urban canopy. Those regulations require tree service providers to register with the City of Seattle before conducting commercial tree work, consultations on private property and posting a public notice on-site for any tree work beyond minimal routine maintenance. In February 2023, the City passed additional legislation to modify and clarify those regulations. See the SDCI tree code webpage for the detailed registration and notice requirements.
Below is a summary of the key points that affect tree service providers and property owners, including the most significant changes in the recent legislation.
Tree Service Provider Requirements
- Tree service providers must create an account and register at the Seattle Services Portal Trees page.
- All tree service providers that conduct commercial tree work in Seattle (tree removal, pruning, or consulting services) must be registered.
- Tree service providers must comply with the tree protection regulations in SMC 25.11, Director’s Rule 16-2008, Director’s Rule 8-2022 and ANSI A-300 Standards (or subsequent standard).
- Tree service providers will be ineligible to conduct commercial tree work in Seattle if they do not register or if they receive two notices of violation.
- Tree service providers that conduct work in the public right-of-way must also be registered with SDOT, linked from the Seattle Services Portal Trees page.
New provisions effective April 2, 2023:
Tree service providers must be registered and comply with the public notice requirements for commercial tree work both within and outside of Environmentally Critical Areas.
- Tree service providers must be registered and comply with the public notice requirements for abatement of hazardous trees or tree parts.
- The updated definition of “commercial tree work” now includes the phrase “reportable work” instead of “major pruning” to clarify the extent of pruning that requires a tree service provider to conduct the work and post public notice. Reportable work is the removal of live branches 2 inches in diameter or greater, pruning or removal of live roots 2 inches in diameter or greater, or removal of live branches constituting 15 percent or more of a tree’s foliage-bearing area.
- For commercial tree work, tree service providers are required to create and submit a tree public notice that is posted on the SDCI website for 3 business days prior to the start of any reportable work and 6 business days prior to the start of any tree removal.
- The tree public notice is now required to be physically posted at the site only during the time the tree service provider is conducting commercial tree work and should remain in place for five days after the work is completed.
- Tree service providers must display their SDCI tree service provider registration number, the name of the tree service provider business, and either a phone or email address on their commercial vehicles. This information must be clearly displayed on the sides and rear of the commercial vehicle in at least 2 inch tall letters.
Property Owner Requirements
- Property owners must hire a registered tree service provider to complete most tree work on their property. You can find registered providers on the SDCI tree code webpage.
- Property owners will receive a copy of the tree public notice and should confirm the notice is posted on their property during the commercial tree work and that it stays in place for five days after the work is completed.
- Property owners completing their own routine pruning and tree maintenance on their property are not required to register or post a notice.
Visit the SDCI tree code webpage or more information and latest updates.
- Call the Tree Service Provider Registry phone line at (206) 233-5185 (language assistance available upon request).
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submit a Request to ask a question. Please indicate that you need help with “Permits, codes, zones, plans,” then select “Land Use” as the type of help, and then select “Trees” in the description field.