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Public Space Tree Managment

The Urban Forest Manager works ensure that trees in public space are maintained in a way that minimizes risk and maximizes their health and contribution to the urban forest and the community.

Use the MCATLAS Montgomery County Mapping Tool as an aid to understanding where a private property ends and public space begins.  Public space is also called the public ‘right-of-way’.


The following are some of the ways in which the City manages trees in public space:

Public Space Tree Planting

The City owns and/or manages approximately 15% of the land in Takoma Park.  A lot of that area is roadways and buildings, but it also includes many locations suitable for tree planting, primarily along streets and in parks.  The City conducts an annual planting in these public space locations with a diverse array of native trees and an emphasis on long-lived large canopy species wherever possible.

Request a Public Space Tree

A property owner may submit a request for a public space location adjacent to their property to be considered for tree planting. Requested locations will be considered for their suitability for a new tree in balance with other City priority locations.  To submit a request, click the link below.

Public Space Tree Planting Request 

Letters are mailed to adjacent properties in advance of planting to give an opportunity to provide input on species selection.

Tree Planting Location Prioritization

Low-canopy areas of the City and locations where there is soil sufficient to support a canopy tree are given the highest priority.  The City also considers potential conflicts with vehicle traffic and utility lines, amongst other factors.

Tree Planting Seasons

The City typically plants trees during the spring or fall.


Mitigate hazardous tree situations

Trees that become hazardous require mitigation pruning or removal. The City’s Urban Forest Manager uses the International Society of Arboriculture’s recommended tree risk assessment process when weighing the risk a public tree may pose before approving any removals. The City works with experienced and qualified contractors to provide high-quality tree work that maximizes tree health and minimizes negative impacts to the landscape and the community.  See the table below for any notices about upcoming tree removal or pruning work to be conducted in public space.

Residents should contact the Urban Forest Manager if they identify any hazardous situations associated with a public space tree.


Public Space Tree Pruning and Removals

Estimated Completion Date
Description of Work
Link to List of Locations
Adirondack Tree Experts2/11/23
Pruning and Removal of Trees in Public Space
Work to be conducted in all six wards
Batch 1.9.23 Pruning and Removals (PDF)


Oversee work in public space

Construction projects in public space have the potential to impact trees.  Utility installations, new driveways, retaining walls, sidewalks, roadways, and other projects can all pose concerns.  The Urban Forest Manage works closely with the Construction Manager to ensure that trees impacts from these sorts of project are minimized.

Property owners and contractors are required to submit a Work in the Right-of-Way Permit application for any projects that will involve work in public space.


Street and Sidewalk Clearance Pruning

Tree branches can conflict with sidewalk and roadway traffic and sight lines.  The City works to address any sidewalk or roadway clearance issues and aims to maintain 8 feet clearance over sidewalks and 14 feet over roads.  Streets will be reviewed and trees pruned for adequate clearance on a four-year cycle and as-needed in urgent cases.

Residents are encouraged to contact the Urban Forest Manager if they identify any especially problematic tree clearance concerns in advance of the normal cycle of inspection and pruning.


City Tree Programs Sections