Pruning Information

Street Tree - Pruning Information

Pruning is the most important tree maintenance activity. It reduces crisis management situations and improves the overall health, safety and beauty of Puyallup's community forest. Pruning should be performed on a regular interval to improve tree form, reduce weak branch growth/architecture and to remove dead or damaged branches. The following is information on tree pruning activities in the city and responsibilities.
Think Before You Top Get the Facts


In 2015, the city will have improved services related to street tree pruning through a new Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) work crew that will be working in the city approximately three (3) months a year on various tree related activities. The city's Certified Arborist is currently receiving requests for pruning actions in areas outside of the normal trees the city maintains - email the city's Certified Arborist to make a request to prune a tree. Most pruning to be completed by WCC will be to reduce issues related to roadway or sidewalk clearance or sight-distance issues and would not include major pruning.

Street Tree Topping Is Prohibited

Tree topping is the indiscriminate removal of upper tree branches, often performed to reduce the size of a tree. A property owner may feel that a tree has become too large for his or her property, or that tall trees may pose an unacceptable risk. Topping, however is not a viable method of height reduction and certainly does not reduce future risk. In fact, topping will increase risk in the long term, reducing the life span of the tree and forming tree branches which are weakly formed to the tree, making them prone to failure. Tree topping any street tree is prohibited by Puyallup Code 11.28.040.

Who Maintains Other Street Trees & Does Pruning Work Require a Permit?

Unless shown on the map of a city-maintained street trees (PDF), maintenance of street trees (and all other vegetation) located in the public right-of-way is the responsibility of the abutting property owner, with proper permitting. The property owner is required to maintain street and sidewalk clearance and maintain trees for sight distance near driveways and intersections.

Branches must be maintained for clearance at 14 feet over roads and 7 feet over sidewalks. If the Street Department determines inadequate clearance is available for street sweeper maintenance, you may be contacted to complete some minor pruning in advance of sweeping in your neighborhood. A right-of-way street tree permit shall be obtained by property owners seeking to prune branches larger than 2 inches in diameter, remove a street tree in the right-of-way. All other minor pruning and other maintenance work to trees in the right-of-way are exempt form permitting.

All street tree pruning shall conform to all accepted arboricultural standards (ANSI A300); tree topping is prohibited. The city's Planning Department shall review and approve all street tree maintenance, removal and planting permit requests in accordance with city standards.