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Tree Removal Permit

Tree Removal Permit Applications: Important Information

Urban Forest Trees (see here for definition) located on private property shall not be removed without first obtaining a Tree Removal Permit.  Please see the instructions on the right-hand side of this page for how to apply for this permit and to understand how your application will be processed.

The standard application fee is $50.  If all trees in the application are dead, the fee is $25.

The Urban Forest Manager will make one of the following determinations after inspecting the tree:

  • Dead/Hazardous: In this case, your tree will receive a permit immediately after the Urban Forest Manager’s inspection of the tree. Nothing more will be required after the permit is issued.
  • Denied: In cases where a tree is determined to be in good health, outstanding in size, contributing significantly to urban forest canopy cover, and for which no compelling need to remove the tree is presented, the permit will be denied. Please see the city code for more details on the criteria for how this determination is made: Code Section 12.12.080.A.1
  • Preliminary Permit Approval: If a tree is not dead or hazardous and also does not meet the conditions for a denial, it will be granted Preliminary Approval. A 15-day appeal period will then commence, during which any Takoma Park resident has the right to appeal the Urban Forest Manager’s decision to permit removal of the tree.  Additionally, the applicant must fulfill a replanting requirement.  See below for further discussion of these two provisions.
Replanting Requirement

In cases where a tree receives preliminary permit approval, the applicant must address the replanting requirement before receiving their permit.  The replanting requirement is intended, after time, to compensate for the loss of the urban forest canopy of the tree to be removed.  The number of trees that must be replanted is determined by a code-defined formula that uses the size of trunk and the condition of the tree.  Applicants must update their web portal request record or contact the Urban Forest Manager with their agreement to replant the required equivalent of trees within 6-months after receipt of permit before the permit will be issued.

Replanted trees must be of the same mature size category (Small, Medium, or Large) as the removed tree and must be picked from the list of approved tree species.  See here for the list: Takoma Park Approved Tree Species List.

Note that the code-defined formula refers to the “basal area” of the removed tree and the replacement trees.  This is the two-dimensional cross-sectional area of the trunk.  The city uses a 1.5” caliper tree as the standard for calculating the number of trees required to fulfill the replanting requirement. However, you may plant larger trees as long as the appropriate basal area percentage is achieved.  Please contact the Urban Forest Manager if you are considering planting trees larger than 1.5” caliper.

Replacement trees must be planted on private property inside the Takoma Park city limits and must be kept in good health.

As an alternative to replanting trees, the applicant may pay a fee-in-lieu for part or all of their replanting requirement.  This fee is calculated at $312 per tree, using 1.5” caliper to calculate the number of trees needed to satisfy the basal area replacement requirement.  This fee will be a contribution to the City of Takoma Park Tree Fund and will support tree planting in public space and through planting programs offered to private properties in the city.

Undesirable Species

The City maintains a list of  ‘Undesirable’ tree species as part of the Administrative Regulation on Noxious Growth and Undesirable Trees. A permit for the removal of an Undesirable tree cannot be denied or appealed, but it still requires an application and inspection. The replanting requirement still applies but it will be half the regular amount.  See below for the list of undesirable species:

    • White Mulberry (Morus alba)
    • Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
    • Ailanthus or Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
    • Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’)
    • Ginkgo or Maiden Hair Tree (Ginkgo biloba) female only
    • Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
    • Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellate)
    • Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Removal of More Than 10 Trees

If an application includes a request to remove more than 10 trees, the applicant must comply with a city code requirement that a community meeting be conducted to present information to the public regarding the proposed tree removal. An application for the removal of more than 10 trees will not be reviewed until after this community meeting has occurred.  Follow this link to the city code to read more about this requirement: Code Section 12.12.080.  Contact the Urban Forest Manager for more information on how to satisfactorily post and conduct this meeting.

Trees in Public Space

For concerns with trees located in public space, please contact the Urban Forest Manager directly.  Do not apply for a Tree Removal Permit!  See here for Montgomery County’s web map showing property lines: MCATLAS


During the 15-day appeal period, a resident may submit their request to appeal the decision to provide preliminary permit approval in writing to the Urban Forest Manager.  This will trigger an appeal hearing before the Tree Commission.  This can be a lengthy process and involves substantial expense in legal fees paid by the City to the City Attorney and time spent by the Tree Commission and the Urban Forest Manager.  Potential appellants are encouraged to contact the Urban Forest Manager first to see if their concerns can be addressed through an explanation of why the preliminary permit approval was provided for a particular tree.

Permit denials may be appealed by the applicant in a similar manner.

The Urban Forest Manager’s determination that a tree is dead and/or hazardous may not be appealed.

Historic District

The Historic Preservation Commission of Montgomery Planning maintains their own permitting process for removing a tree larger than 6″ diameter inside the Historic District.   See the following link for information on when and how to obtain a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP): Historic Area Work Permit

How to Apply for a Tree Removal Permit:

  1. Start your Tree Removal Permit Application using the MyTKPK web portal by following this link:
  2. Click ‘Create Account’ and enter your information if you have not previously used the system. If you have already created an account then log in with your email address.
  3. Follow the prompts to provide the required information and submit. Note that an application is good for up to five trees.  If you have more than this number you will need to submit multiple applications.
  4. An email will automatically be sent notifying you that the invoice for the application fee is ready to be paid. Click the application number link in the email (W000001-010121) or log back into MyTKPK to view your in-progress application.  There will now be a button titled ‘View Invoices’ next to your application.  Click this and follow the prompts to pay the invoice.  With the inspection fee paid, your request will now be in the queue for the Urban Forest Manager to review.
    • Note! You may need to adjust your internet browser settings to allow ‘pop-ups’ from the MyTKPK page for the invoice payment page to load properly.
  5. Tie a piece of ribbon or string around each tree to be inspected to clearly identify it for the Urban Forest Manger’s visit.
  6. Please allow 3-5 business days for the Urban Forest Manager to conduct the inspection. You will receive a response by email with the City’s determination and any required next steps.
  7. Note that you may not remove the tree(s) until you have received notice from the City of Takoma Park stating that you have received your permit. Depending on the condition of the tree you may have to provide a replanting agreement or fee-in-lieu payment before receiving your permit.

Important Links and Resources

MyTKPK Web Portal for Tree Removal Permit Applications

City of Takoma Park Municipal Code Chapter 12.12: Urban Forest

Definition of an Urban Forest Tree

Administrative Regulations Regarding Tree Removal Permits (PDF)

Takoma Park Approved Tree Species List (PDF)

Tree Removal Permit Application (PDF) [Please use the MyTKPK Web Portal instead if possible!]

Tree Permit Staff Contact

Marty Frye, Urban Forest Manager
Phone: 301-891-7612
Email: urbanforestmanager@takomaparkmd.gov

Tree Permits Sections