Hazard Tree Removal on Private Property in Seattle

tree hazard seattle

Hazard Tree Removal on Private Property in Seattle

tree hazard seattle

Tree hazard in home owners yard.

Hazard tree removal on private property is a vital consideration for homeowners and professionals in Seattle. Understanding the regulations, practices, and available resources is paramount for proper tree management. This guide aims to clarify these aspects, ensuring compliance and responsible tree care.

Seattle’s Regulations and Codes on Tree Protection

Tree protection in Seattle is governed by various codes and regulations. Seattle Municipal Code 25.11 details non-ECA tree protection, while SMC 25.09 covers environmentally critical areas. Further reference can be made to the Director’s Rule on Calculating Tree Valuations and Penalties, Rule for Exceptional Trees, Rule for Tree Service Provider Registry, Tips on Site Plan Requirements and Guidelines, and the Overview of Tree Code.

Pruning, Major Pruning, and Topping

Tree care in Seattle encompasses several practices such as pruning, major pruning, and topping. Pruning must comply with the American National Standard for Tree Care Operations, with written confirmation recommended to ensure adherence. Major Pruning includes the removal of branches 2 inches or greater in diameter or more than 15 percent of the tree’s foliage-bearing area, requiring careful consideration. Topping, or cutting back limbs to stubs within the tree’s crown, is prohibited, as it disfigures the tree and can lead to long-term damage.

Qualified Professional Requirements

Hiring a qualified professional for tree risk assessment is crucial. They must have at least three years of experience in tree evaluation, carry specific credentials such as SAF Certified Forester or ISA Certified Arborist, and be registered on the SDCI Tree Service Provider Registry. These requirements are essential to ensure proper evaluation and compliance with city standards.

Definitions of Removal, Target, and Topping

Understanding the terminology used in tree management is necessary for effective communication and compliance. Removal encompasses direct or indirect actions causing irreversible damage to a tree. The term Target refers to a person, object, or structure that could be harmed by a tree, while Topping is defined as the disfiguring of a tree through severe cutting practices.

Essential Resources for Tree Management in Seattle

Seattle provides a variety of resources for tree management. This includes documents such as Environmentally Critical Areas – Tree and Vegetation Overview, Standard Details for Tree and Vegetation Protection, Instructions for Hazard Tree Removal Approval, Basic Tree Risk Assessment Form (ISA), Maps for Environmentally Critical Areas, and Guidance on Tree protection on Construction and Development Sites.


Navigating the complexities of hazard tree removal on private property in Seattle can be daunting. This guide has provided a detailed overview of the essential codes, practices, and resources required for compliance. It is advisable to review and consult the specific documents and engage qualified professionals to ensure proper tree management.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This blog post should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. Compliance with all code and rule requirements is the reader’s responsibility.

For further information and guidance, visit Seattle’s SDCI website.

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