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Tree Information for Contractors

Contractors and other professionals working in Takoma Park should be aware of tree regulations and policies that may impact their work.

Definition of an Urban Forest Tree

‘Urban Forest Tree’ is a term used in the City of Takoma Park Municipal Code referring to a tree with a trunk over 24-inch circumference (7.625-inch diameter) measured at 4.5 feet from the ground.  Many City policies and regulations apply to work done on and around Urban Forest Trees. 

Tree Removal

Tree Removal Permit

Removal of an Urban Forest Tree requires a permit.  A permit must be applied for after the property owner has determined that they would like to remove the tree and a permit must be obtained before the removal occurs.  See the Tree Removal Permit and the Tree Risk Management webpages to learn more about the Urban Forest Manager’s approach to assessing tree risk as it pertains to permit review and to learn about how a property owner can apply for a permit.  Contractors cannot apply for a permit on behalf of a property owner.

Emergency Hazard Mitigation

Trees that are at imminent likelihood of failure and are posing a hazard to life or property may be eligible for emergency mitigation actions without applying for a permit. Please see the Tree Removal Permit webpage for more information on how to navigate an emergency tree situation.

Tree Pruning

  • If greater than 10% of a tree’s living crown is to be pruned, a Tree Impact Assessment is required. The property owner and their tree care contractor must work together to determine their pruning plan before applying for the Tree Impact Assessment.  See the Tree Impact Assessment webpage to learn more.
  • Deadwood does not count towards the 10% threshold. All dead branches can be pruned without a Tree Impact Assessment.  If the entire tree is dead, a Tree Removal Permit is required for removal.
  • As per Maryland state policy, a property owner may prune branches originating from a tree on a neighboring property that cross onto their property. See the Tree Ownership, Right to Prune, and Easements page for more information.  The 10% live crown threshold for a Tree Impact Assessment still applies to branches pruned from a neighbor’s tree.

Street Closures for Tree Work

If work requires the use of the parking area on a City street, a contractor may post ‘No-Parking’ signs to reserve the work area as long as they abide by the following guidelines:

  • The signs must be posted at least 48 hours in advance of the work.
  • The signs must list the date and time frame of the work, the purpose of the work, and the name of the company.

If an entire street needs to be closed, the contractor must do the following:

  • Provide advance notice of the date and timeframe of work to the Urban Forest Manager at
  • Contact Montgomery County Traffic Management Center (240-777-2100), who will then coordinate with Fire and Rescue, 911, and RideOn Bus.
  • During the closure, use adequate signage to inform drivers of closure at either end of the block.

Construction, Landscaping, and Other Work

Tree Impact Assessment / Tree Protection Plan Permit

Certain work that may impact an Urban Forest Tree requires a Tree Impact Assessment. Following the Tree Impact Assessment, the Urban Forest Manager may determine that a full Tree Protection Plan Permit is required, or they may determine that certain tree impact mitigation actions are required.  The following is a list of some of the project types that may require one or both of these.  This is not an exhaustive list:

  • Construction or renovation of a house
  • Construction of a deck
  • Construction or renovation of an accessory dwelling, garage, shed, or pool
  • Installation of buried water, gas, electric, or telecommunication wires and pipes
  • Installation of buried pipes for stormwater management, including for roof downspouts.
  • Installation of stormwater management features, such as drywells, rain gardens, or drainage swales
  • Excavation for landscaping, including soil grading, plant or tree installation, and patios
  • Installation or replacement of a retaining wall
  • Installation or replacement of a driveway or other hardscape
  • Installation of a geothermal system
  • Other projects that may involve excavation, heavy equipment traffic, or heavy materials storage within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree.

Not all projects require a Tree Impact Assessment and/or Tree Protection Plan Permit.  See the Tree Impact Assessment / Tree Protection Plan Permit page for more information.

Work in the Right-of-Way Permit / Driveway Apron Permit

Some projects that may impact Urban Forest Trees require a Work in the Right-of-Way Permit or a Driveway Apron Permit.  See the Work in the Right-of-Way Permit and Driveway Apron Permit pages for more information.

Policy on Consultation Visits

The City does not offer consultation visits to guide property owners on tree management decisions.  Contractors should work with their clients to determine a desired course of action and then apply for the appropriate permits or assessments.

Tree Permits and Regulations Sections