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Tree Permits

The City of Takoma Park requires a permit when individuals seek to remove a tree or perform work that impacts a tree within the boundaries of Takoma Park.

A Tree Removal Permit is required to remove an urban forest tree in Takoma Park. Tree Removal Permits are granted through the Tree Removal Application process. NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE!

Prior to performing any activity which may impact a tree or tree roots, a Tree Impact Assessment is required. Based on the outcome of the assessment, you may be required to submit an application for a Tree Protection Plan.

 A Tree Impact Assessment is also required before performing pruning of more than 5% of live branches on an urban forest tree.

Please see the individual sections of this page for details on when a Tree Impact Assessment, Tree Protection Plan Agreement, or Tree Removal Permit are needed.

About the Urban Forest

Adapted from Takoma Park Municipal Code 12.12.020:

An urban forest tree is a tree in the City which:

  1. Measures 24 inches or more in circumference at four and one-half feet above ground level, also known as diameter at breast height (DBH), measures seven and five-eighths inches or more at DBH*; or
  2. Is required to be planted or maintained, pursuant to governmental order, agreement, stipulation, covenant, easement, or a tree protection plan, or as a condition of issuance of a tree permit; or
  3. Is planted with government funding or under a government program. (Ord. 2003-40 (part), 2004)

*NOTE: The City of Portland, Oregon has a “How To Measure a Tree” page explaining the term and process of measuring a tree.

The urban forest includes trees on private property. For more details review  Section 12.12 of the Takoma Park Municipal Code in its entirety.

Tree Permit Fees

  • 50.00 permit fee  Tree Removal Application (for trees with living branches and leaves)
  • $25.00 waiver fee –Tree Removal Application (for trees that are dead)
  • $50.00 Request For Tree Impact Assessment
  • $50.00 Tree Protection Plan

Tree Permit Staff Contact

Marty Frye
Urban Forest Manager
Phone: 301-891-7612

Tree Removal Application

Online:  Tree Removal Application You can now apply and pay online through the MyTKPK system

Download: Tree Removal Application (PDF)

Whenever an urban forest tree (a tree with a diameter greater than 7 ⅝ inches at 4.5 feet above ground) is to be removed, a Tree Removal Permit application is required. If the tree is dead, the applicant can request a waiver which has a $25.00 fee. If the tree is alive the applicant must request a permit which has a $50.00 fee. Once the application is received  the Arborist evaluates the tree condition and size. The size of the tree and the health determines the number of replacement trees that will be required. The intention of the replacement requirement is to provide the same canopy in 25 years as the tree to be removed currently provides. If the permit is approved, there is a 15 day comment period. The property owner must return a Tree Replacement Agreement or pay a fee in lieu before the permit can be issued.

The City offers assistance for tree removal of dead or hazardous trees for low- and moderate-income residents (85% of the median income for Montgomery County.  The Emergency Tree Fund Criteria and Homeowners Application can be found here:

Appeal Process

The City Code establishes a appeals process Takoma Park Municipal Code 12.12.110

The following decisions can be appealed:

  • Anyone can appeal a Preliminary Tree Removal Approval within the 15 Day Posting Period
  • The applicant can appeal the City’s Denial of Tree Removal
  • An adjoining property owner can appeal a Preliminary Tree Protection Plan Approval within 15 Days of notice

The following decisions are not eligible for appeal:

  • The number of trees required for replanting
  • The determination that a permit is required rather than a waiver
  • A waiver decision

Appeals are heard by the Tree Commission, which is made up of community members selected by the City Council. The hearing is quasi judicial in nature. The commissions decision is communicated by the City Attorney within 30 days of the hearing. An Appellant can take the matter to Circuit Court and file a petition for judicial review within 30 days of the Tree Commission’s decision.


Tree Impact Assessment

Download: Request For Tree Impact Assessment (Please print application (PDF) and mail in with $50 check to the address on the form)

If you are considering performing the following activities within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree, located on your property, on a neighbor’s land, or City right-of-way, you must submit a Request for a Tree Impact Assessment:

  • Land disturbing activities including raising or lowering grade more than 3 inches, over an area greater than 25 square feet, within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree
  • Construction or placement of a structure other than a fence within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree
  • Paving more than 25 square feet with an impervious surface within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree
  • Activity within the Critical Root Zone that may destroy a significant portion of the roots or endanger the water supply
  • Topping an Urban Forest Tree or pruning more than 5 % of the live canopy

If you are planning a construction project or building an addition, it is advised to start this process early in the design phase of the project so that tree impacts can be identified and any limitations for construction can be identified in case they will impact the construction plans.

Tree Protection Plan Agreement

Download: Tree Protection Plan Agreement (Please print the agreement forms (PDF) and mail in with $50 check to the address on the form)

To determine if a Tree Protection Plan is needed please review the Tree Impact Assessment section above. It is recommended that you begin with that process.

Construction or other activities may damage a tree’s roots or affect its water supply. To prevent or mitigate these negative effects you may need a Tree Protection Plan Agreement for the following types of activities: excavation, adding fill, construction of a structure, paving.

A Tree Protection Plan specifies the measures to be taken to protect trees and tree roots during the construction process. The application process is fairly detailed. A site plan with the construction details must be submitted. The document requires the concurrence of the property owner and contractor performing the work.

Components of a Tree Protection Plan may include:

  • Identification of the Critical Root Zone
  • Tree Protection Fence
  • Type of equipment to be used on site
  • Type of excavation required and proximity to trees
  • Root pruning or Tree pruning required
  • Soil Compaction mitigation or protection of root areas
  • Identifying storage and staging areas
  • Construction entrance location

Once a Tree Protection Plan Application is reviewed and approved by the Arborist, the City notifies adjoining property owners allowing them 15 days to comment on the application. Only those property owners who share a property line with the applicant are permitted to comment. After the 15 day period has expired, if no comments or objections have been received, the application will be processed and the permit issued. If comments/objections are received, the Arborist will determine if modifications can be made to the plan or if the permit can be issued or should be denied.

On certain projects a bond may be required. The bond amount is the estimated cost of removal of the potentially impacted tree(s) and the equivalent replacement costs. The bond must be secured for two years. The Arborist determines the amount of the bond. The Arborist also determines if the critical root zone has been affected within the two year bond period.

Additional Tree Permit Documents

Tree Selection Guide

Download: Tree Selection Guide (PDF)

One facet of the tree protection and preservation ordinance is that removed trees be replaced. In most situations the replacement requirement will be “like for like.” The Tree Selection Guide includes suggestions for types and varieties of trees suitable for planting in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.

Current Tree Removal Applications

All removal applications granted preliminary approval must be posted for a period of 15 days to allow for public comment. Current pending applications are listed below. Any resident of Takoma Park may appeal a preliminary approval during the posting period. If no appeal is received during the posting period, a tree removal permit will be issued. If an appeal is received, the matter will be scheduled for a Tree Commission hearing. If you would like to appeal a preliminary approval listed below please provide a written request  to the Arborist before the end of the posting period:

Tree Removal Application Staff Contact

Ian Chamberlain
Construction Manager
Phone: 301-891-7611

Pending Tree Removal Applications (chart does not include approved waivers)

AddressNumber of TreesAppeal Process EndsDiameter*Tree LocationTree Type
316 Mississippi Avenue12020-10-3124"back leftAmerican Beech
125 Geneva Avenue32020-10-2417", 12", 29"back center, front center, front leftNorthern Catalpa, Red Cedar, Red Cedar
8210 Roanoke Avenue12020-10-2222"back rightSilver Maple
6803 Woodland Avenue12020-10-2814"back centerBlack Locust
202 Elm Avenue12020-10-2222"front rightWhite Oak
216 Grant Avenue12020-10-2310"back leftVirginia Pine
1301 Elson Place12020-11-0429"back centerSouthern Red Oak
18 Darwin Avenue22020-11-0415", 14"front left, front leftLeyland Cypress, Leyland Cypress
11 Cleveland Avenue12020-11-0433"back centerWhite Oak
414 Mississippi Avenue12020-11-0415"back leftAmerican Holly
256 Park Avenue12020-11-0521"back rightPrincess Tree
22 Darwin Avenue12020-11-0520"back centerBlack Walnut
434 Ethan Allen Avenue52020-11-1116", 16.1" + 7.6", 11.6", 15.4", 8.4"+5.1"T64, T70, T71, T73, T74Catalpa, Pin Oak, Willow Oak, Eastern White Pine, Eastern Redbud
434 Ethan Allen Avenue52020-11-1112.2", 13.5", 25.6", 26.5", 6.2" + 4.7"T80, T81, T102, T103, T998Eastern White Pine, Eastern White Pine, Pin Oak, Silver Maple, Flowering Cherry
434 Ethan Allen Avenue42020-11-119.6", 9.5", 24", 15.5"T999, T1000, T104a, T104bBlack Cherry, Bradford Pear, White Mulberry, American Elm
*Diameter at breast height.

Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. This table is maintained by Ian Chamberlain, Construction Manager. (

Pending Tree Appeals

AddressNumber of TreesType of AppealDiameter*Tree TypeTree LocationHearing Date / LocationTree Commission Ruling
7600 Takoma Avenue56Tree Removal Preliminary Approvalvariousvarious7600 Takoma AvenueAugust 12, 6:45 pm
REMOTE meeting held on web (Zoom)
Contact for meeting link
9/10/20 - Tree Commission upheld the issuance of the tree removal permit for 56 trees
*Diameter at breast height.

Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. This table is maintained by Ian Chamberlain, Construction Manager. (

Need Help?

Please direct your questions and concerns related to tree permits to:

Marty Frye

Urban Forest Manager

Public Works

Permits & Licenses Sections


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