Do I need a tree permit?
The answer is almost always yes! The following may be allowed without a permit, but there are exceptions, please see our FAQ page for more information.
- Pruning a tree/normal maintenance of a tree on your property
- Cutting a small tree outside of a critical area/buffer (see definition in the FAQ) on your property
- Pruning tree limbs that reach over your property (up to the property line)
- Removal of a species identified in the weed of concern, noxious, or invasive weed lists established by Washington State or King County
Hazard or Emergency TREE REMOVAL
You may remove a tree before getting a permit if it is an imminent hazard or an emergency. Please see the definition in our FAQ of a hazardous or emergency situation where you can remove a tree before getting the permit after the fact.
NOTE: The City Arborist does not provide general tree consulting services. Citizens who need a detailed assessment about the condition or quality of trees on their private property should contact a certified Arborist via The International Society of Arboriculture.
Tree permits not associated with development
*There has been a new Critical Areas code update related to trees not associated with development, section 19.10.050, as of August 2019*
Please email your application to email@example.com if you have questions please contact our Permit techs at 206-275-7605.
- Non Development Tree removal Application and Information
- Mercer Island Interactive Tree Permit Map
- Tree Replanting Detail
Tree Permits Related to Development Proposals
Tree removal associated with a development proposal will be reviewed in conjunction with your development permit application. Please check the Trees, Construction and Tree Plan Submittal Requirements as well as your tree intake screening worksheet.
After you have your permit please make sure to follow the tree protection fencing guidelines using the handouts listed below:
- Tree Submittal Checklist
- Mercer Island Tree Inventory and Replacement Submittal Worksheet
- Tree Replanting Detail
- Tree Protection and Fencing Detail
- Tree Protection Fencing Sign
Tree Removal During the Wet Season (Critical Areas)
Tree removal that is not associated with a development project is not allowed in a critical area (wetlands, water courses, landslide hazard are and buffers). One or more of the following criteria must apply and documentation must be prepared by a qualified Arborist showing that:
If one of the above conditions apply to the tree(s) you wish to remove please prepare the following:
- The tree is a hazard;
- The tree is diseased, in decline, or not viable for retention; or
- The removal of the tree will enhance ecosystem functions and values and/or promote slope stability. (this report may be prepared by another qualified individual)
- A restoration plan prepared by a qualified professional that contains the following:
- Analysis demonstrating how the ecological functions and values including but not limited to slope stabilization, hydrologic function, and habitat value are being preserved by the proposed plan.
- Proposed removal of all noxious weeds, as defined in Chapter 19.16 MICC.
- Removed trees shown as made into snags at a safe height, where feasible.
- Confirmation that the approved restoration plans shall be completed by a qualified professional.
ROW Tree permit
City right of way (ROW) typically includes streets, paths, shoulders, underground/overhead utilities, and even the extension of yards. Trees and shrubs located in the ROW are regulated by the City. When a resident wishes to trim or remove a tree in the City's ROW, they should first contact the City's- ROW Arborist to discuss the situation and learn about the process and -costs involved. Contact Hannah Van Pelt, ROW Arborist at (206) 275-7819 or Hannah.VanPelt@mercergov.org.
Before requesting a ROW tree permit, or reporting a dead/hazardous ROW tree for assessment, be prepared with the following information:
If the ROW Arborist determines that pruning/removal may be allowed, you will need to submit to them a ROW Tree Pruning/Cutting permit and a ROW Use permit application
- Property Address and where the tree is located (e.g. NW corner of property, adjacent to mailbox, etc.)
- Type of tree (evergreen vs. deciduous) and species if known.
- Approximate tree height and/ or trunk diameter (at chest height).
- Reason for request to prune/ remove the tree(s).
- Right of Way Tree Cutting/ Pruning Application
- Right of Way Use Permit
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) also provides a series of useful brochures that discuss many of the basic principles of tree care. Please visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s website for more information and resources.
For information about eagles please visit the U.S. Department Fish and Wildlife.