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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Trees

Call before you cut

phone: (503) 823-TREE (8733)


1900 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97201

How to Prune Properly

When we plant a tree, we hope that it will grow tall and straight; that it will have a full, healthy crown with strong, well-spaced branches; that it will cast a broad expanse of sheltering shade; that it will resist damage by wind and ice; and that it will be easy to maintain. Without proper pruning, however, a tree can become unhealthy and expensive to maintain.

An unmaintained or poorly maintained tree is more likely to become hazardous, with branches that break during storms, have weak and unsightly shoots, and interfere with traffic, pedestrians and overhead wires. To ensure that Portland’s urban forest continues to enhance our daily lives, we must properly care for the young trees we plant.

You can download a pdf of this information here. View the City’s official pruning standards.

Before pruning any street tree or other publicly owned tree, you must obtain a pruning permit from Urban Forestry. The permit is FREE and includes a professional consultation by an Urban Forestry Tree Inspector. The Tree Inspector will inspect the tree and describe the tree's pruning needs on the pruning permit. 

Street Tree Pruning Standards

City of Portland required pruning standards for anyone who prunes trees in the right-of-way

Tips for Hiring an Arborist

Finding the right arborist for you and your tree can be tricky. These tips can help prepare you to find an arborist you trust to care for your tree

Don't Top Trees!

Topping is not permitted on publicly-owned trees (including trees in the right-of-way between the sidewalk and the curb) in Portland

Pruning for Visibility, Safety, and Clearance

Pruning around sidewalks, stop signs, street lights, and utilities

Pruning Mature Trees

Mature trees are a valuable asset for the entire community. Proper care care will help ensure mature trees will keep providing benefits to homeowners and the community for years to come

Pruning Young Trees

What to prune during the first 5 years after the tree has been planted

When do I prune my tree?

Find the ideal season to prune your trees

Proper Pruning Cuts

How to properly prune a tree

Pruning Types

Pruning activities are classified by intensity and form. Each type of pruning technique has a recommended timeframe