Tree Cutting

Frequently Asked Questions about Residential Trees

Tree Removal Tip Sheet

What do I do with a dead tree on my property? I'm afraid it's going to fall over on my house?

If you suspect that you have a dead, diseased, or otherwise dangerous tree on your property, most arborists suggest that it be removed before it causes damage to your property or infects any neighboring trees. If it is an imminent and dangerous threat, the tree should be removed immediately. However, the City requires that you obtain a no-cost tree cutting permit to do so. Contact the Planner on Call at 425-556-2494,, stop by the Permit Center on the second floor of City Hall, or print a tree removal application form.

Why must I get a permit if I just want to get rid of a tree in my own yard?

It's not only because of aesthetics. Tree removal without subsequent tree replacement can cause potential water runoff problems for your property and neighboring properties as well. Permits can also help to avoid accidental cutting of trees on public property.

How many trees can I remove?

It depends. As indicated above, you can remove any tree that is considered dangerous. If you wish to remove one or more healthy trees from your property, you should consult with a city planner. Depending on the size of your lot, you may be able to remove between two and eight trees a year with the appropriate permit. If ten or more trees are being removed from a property, a clearing and grading permit is required.

What can I do about a neighbor's tree? Its leaves are falling on to my property; in fact, the whole tree is about to fall on to my property.

Washington case law has determined that in these instances, it's a civil matter between the neighbors involved. The City can step in only when it is one of our trees that has fallen onto neighboring private property. When that happens, the City will remove the fallen tree and repair any property damage that might occur.

How do I determine what kind of trees to replant?

In most cases, a replacement tree should conform to minimum size standards, but the choice of species is up to you and you should consider how you want this tree to enhance your landscape.