Skip to main content

Street tree planting rules in New York City

A series about the rules and regulations of street tree planting, pruning, and removal in New York City.

From the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation:
There are two ways to have a street tree planted in front of your property. You can request a free tree or you can plant one on your own. If you are required to plant because of zoning regulations and your job was pre-filed before May 3, 2010, please read the Street Tree Planting Requirements for New Buildings. For zoning-related jobs pre-filed on or after May 3, 2010 please see Parks Plan Review

Request a Tree: Any property owner can request a free street tree by submitting a Service Request through our new forestry service request system or by calling 311. Note: New trees planted through Parks’ free request system cannot fulfill planting requirements for new buildings or alterations.

The Process: Each requested planting location must be surveyed by a forester to determine the site’s suitability and potential infrastructural conflicts. Trees are planted on a first–come, first serve basis. As the availability of trees, number of requests, and duration of planting seasons are variable, not all requests can be satisfied immediately and some may take longer than a year. In order to be considered for a spring planting, a request must be received no later than December 31st, and by July 1st for a fall planting. Trees are only planted during two planting seasons: March 15 – May 15 (Spring) and October 15 – December 15 (Fall). To learn more about the planting process, view our 10 Steps to Planting for a Greener NYC.

Plant a Tree On Your Own: You can also plant a tree on your own by obtaining a Tree Planting Permit and hiring a landscape contractor. To apply for a free permit to plant a tree in front of your property, call 311 or download the P-A Forestry Application below. All plantings on City streets must be in accordance with Parks’ current Tree Planting Standards [PDF, 605 kB]. You may find the Planting Specifications Checklist [PDF, 531 kB] helpful in keeping to these regulations. If you are interested in one–stop planting and permitting, for a moderate donation, the New York Tree Trust will work with you throughout the process from site surveying to species selection to planting. For more information about the Tree Trust, please call (212)360–TREE.
For more information, visit the Forestry Services and Permits website.


Anonymous said…
If you want to prevent tree roots from penetrating beneath the sidewalk it may be helpful to install root deflectors. The drive roots downward, away from hardscape. I purchased mine online from ...scroll Root Solutions or call 1-800-554-0914