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. Hiring tree service providers knowledgeable in the City’s regulations ensures that your provider knows and understands the City’s regulations and policies for proper tree care. Tree service providers are required to be registered with the City to do certain tree work on private property (registry administered by SDCI) and in the public rights-of-way (registry administered by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)). These two departments currently manage separate application and monitoring processes for their respective tree service provider registries.
In late February, the tree service provider registration application processes for SDCI and SDOT are being combined into a single application. This single application will help create a more streamlined and efficient experience for tree service providers and a more automated and efficient process for City staff.
A tree service provider is any company that removes or maintains trees on private property or prunes or removes trees in the public right-of-way. 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.
A new combined tree service provider registry will be available on the Trees for Seattle website 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.
Tree Service Provider Registry Requirements
We will be updating the Seattle Services Portal Help Center article (How To Apply for the Tree Service Provider Registry) to provide clear information and instructions on how to submit a Tree Service Provider application with SDCI, SDOT, or both.
- All tree service providers will be able to create an account and register with SDCI, SDOT, or both on the Seattle Services Portal.
- All SDCI tree service providers that conduct tree removal*, major pruning**, or consulting services *** must be registered for any work on private property.
- All SDOT tree service providers that conduct major pruning** or removal**** must be registered for any work in the public right-of-way.
- Tree service providers must commit to applicable tree protection regulations.
- Failure to register or receiving two violation notices will prevent tree service providers from being eligible to conduct business in Seattle. Violations are tracked separately for private property and within the public rights-of-way and are not combined for purposes of determining the status of your registration.
* 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.
**** All tree removal in the right-of-way requires permitting, regardless of tree size.
Property Owner Requirements
- You must hire a registered tree service provider to complete most tree work on your property or in the right-of-way.
- Once the combined application is launched in late February, you can view the complete list of all registered tree service providers on the Trees for Seattle website.
- Property owners completing their own routine pruning and tree maintenance on their property or in the right-of-way are not required to register.
Resources & More Information
- Visit the SDCI tree code webpage for more information and the latest updates.
- View the SDOT tree code manual for more information and the latest updates.
- For questions:
For the SDCI registry (or if you are interested in both the SDCI and SDOT registries), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through our Submit a Request form.
- To help route your request, indicate that you need help with “Permits, codes, zones, plans”.
- Select “Land Use” as the type of help you need.
- Select “Trees” in the description field.
For the SDOT registry, email us at email@example.com.
Free Interpretation Assistance
The City of Seattle offers free interpretation in our customer’s preferred language. For information about changes coming to the City of Seattle’s tree service provider registration program or for questions related to the tree service provider registry requirements and application process, please call (206) 684-8733. Please tell our staff your preferred language, so that we can arrange for free assistance in that language.