Tree Removal

General Overview

Tree Protection Code: DMC Chapter 14.40

The City adopted its current Tree Protection Ordinance on February 6, 2018 (Ordinance 1234) for the purpose of preserving and enhancing the City’s tree canopy cover. The ordinance (as codified in Duvall Municipal Code Chapter 14.40) applies to all trees classified as Significant Trees (as defined in DMC Section 14.40.20.E) and Exceptional Trees (as defined in DMC Table

Significant Trees: “any tree, other than red alder and cottonwood trees, that measures a minimum of ten (10) inches in diameter at breast height (DBH)”. Breast Height is considered 4.5 feet up from the base of the tree. Property owners of developed lots can apply to have up to a maximum of two viable Significant Trees removed per calendar year; so long as a minimum of two viable Significant Trees are retained on-site.

Exceptional Trees: “any viable tree, which because of its unique combination of size and species, age, location, and health, is worthy of long-term retention, as determined by a qualified professional arborist representing the City; the definition of exceptional tree is provided along with further designation criteria in [DMC] Section 14.40.120.” Exceptional Trees can only be approved for removal for reasons listed in DMC Section 14.40.025.

Exceptions: A Tree Removal Permit is required prior to the removal of any Significant Tree or Exceptional Tree within the City; however, “any tree on private property that poses an imminent threat to life or property may be removed without first submitting a Tree Removal Notification and receiving City approval. The property owner shall contact the City within seven days of removal to provide photographic evidence of threat for approval of exemption... Imminent danger* means that the conditions of the situation make it an immediate threat of failing. An imminent danger includes, but is not limited to, a tree leaning from a storm event, breaking roots, obvious decay or defect in a trunk or branch, a new crack at a branch or stem attachments, and hanging broken branches.”  *used to evaluate exceptions

Tree Replacement: Please note that tree replacement is required for all tree removals, with some exceptions. The replacement ratio ranges from 1:1 to 1:3 depending on the tree classification and situation in which the tree is removed. Replacement trees must be 6’ tall for conifers and 2” caliper for deciduous trees. Replacement tree requirements may be reduced for developed lots where one or more significant trees will remain on-site for every two thousand (2,000) square feet of lot area.

Fee: There is no application fee for this permit. A contractor may submit on behalf of a homeowner. If using a contractor, please do not schedule your tree removal service until after you have received approval from the City.


How to Apply

Apply online through our OpenGov portal:  

Required Documentation 

  • Tree(s) species and size (diameter at breast height, please refer to this guide)
  • Site plan indicating the approximate location of all significant trees on the lot
  • Photos of tree(s) to be removed
  • Level 2 Tree Risk Assessment conducted by a certified arborist with a Tree Risk Assessment Qualification- if requesting removal of an exceptional tree, tree is located in an NGPA, or if tree removal does not meet the requirements as stated in DMC 14.40.A.3, and 14.40.B.


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