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Tree Regulations

In addition to permitting, planting, and maintaining tree populations, the Urban Forestry Division (UFD)'s arborists are authorized to protect the District's trees by issuing citations that carry financial or other penalties for violations of regulations.

Nobody wants that to happen. So, the following information is designed to help you understand precisely what the neighborhood guidelines and laws are regarding trees so that you can have a successful project.



  • A permit is required to prune or remove any street tree in the public right of way between a sidewalk and a curb.
  • A permit is required to remove a tree between 44” & 99.9” in circumference.
  • Any tree greater than 100” in circumference is a Heritage Tree and cannot be removed.
  • Homeowners are legally responsible for managing property up to the curb.
  • A public space construction permit is required to install tree fences, according to DCMR 24-109, the Beautification of Tree Spaces Act.

Those who go a step further and adopt a tree by watering and monitoring the health of specific trees in the first two years after planting will receive free watering bags and instructions from UFD. One of the most effective ways a resident can improve the social, ecological and economic value of a neighborhood is to help ensure new trees thrive. In the first two years, these new trees need attention to get established. We ask residents to share that responsibility, and in the end, we will all benefit from a beautiful tree canopy across the city.


To clarify the guidelines and laws governing trees in the District.

Program at a Glance

Program Title: Tree Regulations
Agency: District Department of Transportation
Office: Urban Forestry Division (UFD)
Type: Outreach and Education
Location: 55 M Street, SE, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20003
Phone: (202) 671-5133