Tree Permits

Do I Need A Tree Permit?

Tree permits relate to planting, pruning, or removal of trees. To determine whether you need a tree permit, you must first determine if your tree is on private or public property.

Private Property

If your tree is on your private property, you DO NOT need a tree permit.

Public Right-of-Way

If your existing or planned tree is in the public right-of-way, you may need a tree permit depending on the kind of work you will be doing on the tree. Since the width of the right-of-way varies from street to street, and sometimes from block to block, you should always check before working on trees anywhere near roads or alleys.

Unsure

If you are unsure if your tree is in the right-of-way, please contact our office at 509.363.5495, or UrbanForestry@SpokaneCity.org.

My tree is in the public right-of-way

If you have determined that your tree is in the right-of-way, these are the ONLY two conditions in which a tree permit is NOT required.

  1. Planting with assistance from Urban Forestry
    • You may plant a tree in the right-of-way as long as you contact Urban Forestry for technical assistance beforehand. (homeowners planting at residential locations only)
  2. Minor Pruning*
    • You may engage in minor pruning if it meets these all three of these requirements.
      1. Branches being pruned do not exceed two inches in diameter
      2. Pruning does not exceed 15% canopy loss
      3. The tree is more than 10 feet from a power line

*Planting and pruning work must meet City Arboricultural Specifications and Standards and Standard Planting Diagram.

Any tree work within a right-of-way that does not meet the above conditions DOES require a tree permit, and you must follow the steps below.

How to apply for a Public Tree Permit

Step one: Hire a Certified Arborist from our list.

Certified Arborist list updated November 1, 2019

Step two: Your Certified Arborist fills out the online Public Tree Permit Application and submits it to the Spokane Urban Forestry Program.

Step three: Spokane Urban Forestry staff will review your application and inspect the tree site before approving or denying the Public Tree Permit Application. We will notify the applicant of the decision, typically within 2 working days. Do not begin any tree work until an approved permit has been issued.

Because it only takes a moment to improperly prune or remove a tree but a lifetime to grow the right tree in the right place, it is imperative to protect and preserve mature trees from unnecessary damage or removal.

Therefore all pruning, planting, and removals of public trees within the public rights-of-way (or any public tree located on City property) must be performed by an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist with a current Commercial Tree License (PDF 96 KB) and an approved Public Tree Permit. A street obstruction permit may also be required to perform the work and can be obtained through City of Spokane Engineering Services, 509.625.6700.

Different site conditions can dictate which tree species are most appropriate for different planting locations within the City. For guidance on species selection, please consult our Approved Street Tree List (PDF 6.8 MB).


Contact Information

5th Floor – City Hall
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: 509.363.5495
Fax: 509.325.6205
UrbanForestry@SpokaneCity.org

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