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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Pruning

A permit from PP&R Urban Forestry is required prior to performing any street tree pruning work. Street trees are trees in the public right-of-way, typically between the curb and sidewalk. Some street tree pruning permits can be self-issued online. All other pruning permits will need consultation from a City Tree Inspector, which can be initiated by calling PP&R at 503-823-4489 for a tree inspection and permit. Only an owner of the property abutting the street tree, or the owner's designee, may apply for a street tree pruning permit.

Receive a Pruning Permit Online
Street tree pruning permits may be self-issued online if the tree to be pruned meets the following conditions:

  • The street tree is at a residential property.
  • Pruning is for branches less than 6" in diameter.
  • Pruning is for young tree pruning, crown cleaning or crown raising for clearance of the street and sidewalk (7.5' above the sidewalk, 11' above residential streets, and 14' over arterial streets).
  • The street tree is not a Heritage Tree.

Young tree pruning is the pruning of young trees to develop good structure, including a strong and well established central leader, strong branch attachments, and adequate spacing and distribution of scaffold branches. Young tree pruning occurs on an ongoing basis the first ten years after tree planting.

Crown cleaning is the removal of water sprouts and dead, dying, diseased, crowded, weakly attached, and low vigor branches from a tree's crown.

Crown raising for clearance of the street and sidewalk removes the lower branches of a tree in order to provide clearance for vehicles, pedestrians, and buildings. The City of Portland requires maintaining clearance standards 7.5' above the sidewalk, 11' above residential streets, and 14'  above main arterial streets.

Other types of pruning may be permitted for street trees; however, they require a tree inspection and a permit issued by a City Tree Inspector. Self-issued online permits are only valid for trees that meet the above conditions.

The online permitting system requires you to have a unique PortlandOnline account. You will be prompted to log in to PortlandOnline or to create an account if you do not have one. Your permit will be emailed to the email address registered with your PortlandOnline account. The account is free and protected by the City's privacy policy.

APPLY ONLINE HERE

Call Urban Forestry for a Tree Inspection and Pruning Permit
If the tree is not eligible for an online permit, or if you would like a free consultation with a City Arborist, contact PP&R Urban Forestry at 503-823-4489. If any of the following apply, a pruning permit may NOT be self-issued and the applicant must contact Urban Forestry for a permit:

  • The tree is at a non-residential property.
  • Pruning is for crown restoration, weight reduction, clearing infrastructure such as buildings or utility lines, or crown reduction.
  • Pruning is for branches greater than 6" in diameter.
  • The street tree is a Heritage Tree.

Prune Properly
All pruning work must meet PP&R's Urban Forestry Street Tree Pruning Standards. Pruning done without a permit or pruning that does not meet the standards may be treated as a code violation and be subject to civil and criminal penalties and tree replacement.

Elm Tree Pruning
In order to limit the spread of Dutch elm disease and comply with Oregon's state quarantine of elm wood, the following rules apply to the pruning of elm trees (Ulmus spp.):

  • Elm trees shall not be pruned from April 15 through October 15 annually.
  • Pruning tools shall be treated with a disinfectant before and after pruning individual elm trees.
  • All wood waste shall be chipped or taken to an approved commercial disposal site within 24 hours of cutting.

Resources


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