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Tree FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Trees

The City of Tacoma receives hundreds of calls every year about trees. Below are some of the most common ones with answers. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call 3-1-1 or (253) 502-2138.

What do I do if I want a tree in front of my house?

You can plant a street tree through the Grit City Tree Program, which provides a free tree to residents that meet program criteria. The City provides the trees in the fall, and residents pick up the trees from designated pick-up locations. Residents can then plant the trees in the right-of-way. More information about the program can be found at Grit City Trees.


If you would like to plant a tree in your yard, you can take advantage of the Tree Coupon program, which provides interested residents with a discount on the purchase of a tree at a participating nursery. Learn more about this program by going to Tree Coupon Program.

What do I do if there is something wrong with my tree?

A good first step is to call an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist to take a look.

Do I need a permit to trim the tree in front of my house?

If the tree is in the planting strip or right-of-way, you do need a permit from the City of Tacoma to trim the tree. The permit is free and can be done through the Permit Center.


Some private properties are located in "critical areas". If your tree is located in a critical area, you will need to get a permit


Visit the pruning and removal pages for additional information on pruning in Tacoma.


If the tree is in your yard and it is not in a "critical area", you do not need a permit. We do suggest that you follow industry standards for pruning. More information about pruning can be found on the Pacific Northwest ISA Pruning Guidance web page.



What do I do if a tree is growing into the power lines?

Never attempt to prune a tree that has grown into power lines. The utility companies prune trees under high voltage wires on a regular schedule. For concerns about trees in power lines, call Tacoma Public Utilities at (253) 502-8729.

Do you still have a question?

Call 311 within Tacoma or (253) 502-2138 from anywhere else.


Sign up for free tree selection, planting, pruning, and other gardening workshops at the EnviroHouse.