Tree Protections

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Removing or damaging any tree can result in large fines. If any aspect of your project will affect a tree on your property or any street tree, contact the city BEFORE you start work

STREET TREES - Found in the public “tree box” between the sidewalk and road

  • ALL street trees are protected by city and state law. Any proposed work on a street tree—including pruning branches—requires permission from the city.

  • Damage to a street tree by construction equipment, or the trimming or cutting of a street tree without permission, is illegal and will result in a fine.

  • Protective barriers must be placed around all trees and shrubs on public property that may be subject to injury or destruction.



  • Any tree 56.55 inches or more in circumference at chest height is protected by Mount Rainier’s tree ordinance. If you are unsure if your tree is protected, contact the city before taking any action.

  • If the tree is found to be dead, dying or hazardous by the city arborist, a waiver may be issued allowing removal of the tree.

  • If the tree is deemed healthy by the city arborist, you must get a permit for any of the following actions:

  1. Removing, relocating, destroying or topping the tree;
  2. Pruning more than 25% of the live crown of the tree within a one-year period;
  3. Pruning live limbs with a diameter equal to or greater than 30% of the diameter of the tree;
  4. Cutting a root with a diameter of greater than one inch; or
  5. Taking any other action that would significantly and permanently detract from a tree’s health.

  • If a healthy tree is to be removed, and a permit granted, the property owner must plant two replacement trees, pay into a tree replacement fund, or a combination of the two as a condition of issuance of a tree permit. Replacement trees must reach equal or greater size at maturity of the protected tree removed. The city can work with you on the appropriate replacement tree.

  • Any tree work for hire in Mount Rainier must be performed by a Licensed Tree Expert in good standing with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Tree Protection English/Spanish




The City of Mount Rainier requires at least one of two types of tree permits when individuals seek to remove a tree or perform work that impacts a tree within the boundaries of Mount Rainier.

Tree Impact Assessment. A tree impact assessment is needed before performing any action on a protected tree, including removal, pruning of live branches, regrading, or construction work that impacts urban forest trees.

1. Tree Permit. Whenever an urban forest tree is to be pruned, removed, or otherwise impacted, a Tree Permit is required. Tree Permits are granted through the Tree Permit Application process.

2. Tree Waiver. If the tree is found to be dead, dying or hazardous by the city arborist, a waiver may be issued allowing removal of the tree.

If a permit or waiver for a protected tree is not obtained, the property owner may be responsible for a fine of up to $1,000 per 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.

Description Of Permitting Process:

1) Property owner will request an assessment by contacting the city.

2) The City Arborist will visit the property to assess whether a permit or a permit waiver will be required to proceed with the proposed activity. There is no charge to the property owner for the tree assessment.

3) The City Arborist will provide the property owner a copy of his or her tree assessment and the recommended action to proceed on the form. If the property owner decides to proceed, a permit is required.

4) If the City Arborist determines the tree is dead, dying or hazardous, a waiver of the requirement for a tree permit will be granted. There is a $25 fee for each waiver. If financial hardship, the fee may be waived.

5) If the City Arborist determines a tree permit(s) is required and the property owner wishes to proceed, the property owner must pay a $50 fee for each permit application.

6) The City Manager and City Arborist will issue a recommendation approving or denying the permit within seven (7) days of the property owner initiating the process outlined in 3) above. The City Manager will notify the Mount Rainier Tree Commission.

7) The applicant has the right to appeal the preliminary denial of any permit to the Tree Commission within ten (10) days.

8) If the permit is approved, the property owner will be responsible for replanting trees or paying into the tree replacement fund, in accordance with the Mount Rainier City Code, Chapter 12B-15 Tree Replacements. 

9) If approved, a permit will be available for the property owner to post on their property before the scheduled work begins.

See Mount Rainier City Code, Chapter 12B and following subsections for a full description of the tree impact assessment criteria and tree replacement/restitution requirements.


Tree Permit Fees 

  • $50.00 permit fee for Tree Removal (healthy trees or nonhazardous) 
    • Note that there are replacement requirements for removing healthy protected trees. This may require the property owner to pay up to $400 per tree removed. 

  • $25.00 waiver fee – Tree Removal Application (for trees that are dead)



Tree Permit Staff

Rocio Latorre

Roadside Tree Care Expert

(301) 985-6583