Purpose of Street Trees

Street trees help to enhance the appearance of the city’s streetscapes, provide ecosystem services (such as Stormwater interception and air quality improvements), buffer and screen land uses from the public street and improve property values.

The city produces a list of approved street trees in the Vegetation Management Standards (VMS) manual (PDF). A broad diversity of street tree species is a main goal of the city’s street tree program. The city adheres to the “10/20/30” rule:

  • No single species or cultivar shall make up more than 10 percent of the total City street tree population
  • No more than 20 percent of the total City street tree population shall be composed of one genus
  • No more than 30 percent of any one family

A broad diversity of street trees helps to protect the street tree population from large losses due to diseases like Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer, which can wipe out entire species leaving streets bare of any trees.


The city requires and regulates street trees through the city’s street trees ordinance (PMC 11.28); most developments are required to provide street trees, which are typically planted between the curb and sidewalk in the public right of way. In some cases (where planting space in the public right-of-way is limited or does not exist) street trees are placed at the edge of the right-of-way line behind the sidewalk with a small notch in the sidewalk denoting that the tree is a public street tree.

In other limited cases, street trees are placed entirely on private property behind the sidewalk, typically as a part of a required landscape yard. Most street trees are required to be maintained, pruned and removed (when warranted) by the abutting property owner.

The City of Puyallup maintains a limited number of trees located in the public right-of-way. Download a map of street trees (PDF) currently maintained by the Parks Maintenance Division and/or Washington Conservation Corps work crews.

Street Trees FAQs

  1. Do I need a permit to remove a street tree?Edit this item
  2. If I remove a street tree, do I need to replace it?
  3. Do I need a permit to prune a street tree?
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