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FORESTRY

Forestry

The Forestry Division of the Department of Public Works is committed to providing prompt, efficient, and safe delivery of arboricultural services to citizens.

More Education and Information

The following documents are provided to help you understand more about trees, and also to engage in the City processes surrounding the care and planting of trees.

Appealing Street Removal

Citizens of Pittsburgh may appeal the pending removal of a street tree. When the City Forester tags a street tree for removal, typically an appeal packet will be left at the six adjacent properties closest to the tree.

Citizens of Pittsburgh who are not one of those adjacent property owners may find the appeal documents below:

  • Notification Sheets:
    • Appeal Application - A nine page Appeal Application Form, which includes three pages of tree planting application forms
    • Trees Subject to Appeal Notification - This notification sheet is provided to up to six adjacent property owners, with the posting date and proposed removal date written on it, and an address identifying the location of the tree. Anyone wishing to appeal the removal of the tree will need to include all three pieces of information on their appeal application.
    • Non-Appeal Notification - A second kind of notification is provided to up to six adjacent property owners when an appeal is not possible. “When, in the opinion of the Department of Public Works, a tree or portion(s) of a tree in a public area constitutes a hazard to person or property, and is verified by the City Forester, the Department or designated contractor shall remove the hazard without notice or appeal” (§ 483.05 Hazardous Trees in Public Areas).
      • The non-appeal notification sheet has a yellow highlighted area specifying the non-appeal status of tree. When such notification is provided to the adjacent property owners, an appeal packet is not left with the notification.
      • Sample Notification Poster - This poster is titled “This Gentle Giant is Retiring”. A similar poster was placed on the tree to notify adjacent property owners of the pending removal.
      • The address, proposed removal date, and posting date from this poster must be printed on page 1 of the Appeal.
  • Planting Request Forms (included with appeal application) - You must return one of these two types of planting request forms with your appeal application.
    • Tree Planting Request Form - must be filled out and returned with the appeal packet if you wish to be included on the TreeVitalize tree planting list for consideration, and you wish to receive a tree at little or no expense to you. Only page 1 of this 2-page form needs to be returned with appeal.
    • Request for Permit – Tree Planting - Return this form if you are prepared to pay for the installation of a tree without reimbursement.

Citizens Responsibility

Per the ordinance language, you must do the following:

  • File your appeal within three weeks (21 days) of the posting date on the subject tree. Such application shall include one of the two types of tree planting request forms from above.
  • Provide documentation showing why the tree is not a hazard.
    • This document references agreement with the adjacent property owner (if other than yourself), as well as agreement to produce insurance coverage concerning the subject tree.

Go to Appeal Packet

Forestry Partnerships

The City of Pittsburgh works with numerous groups in maintaining our trees.

  • The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
  • Tree Vitalize
  • Tree Pittsburgh
  • Shade Tree Commission

Pittsburgh Urban Forest

The Forestry Division has been implementing a master plan for the care of City trees since late 2012. The plan itself was crafted by the Davey Resource Group (DRG) from Kent, Ohio. The project is to establish a road map for the effective management of the urban forest in Pittsburgh.

A city like Pittsburgh with over 900 miles of streets ‘should’ have 60,000 street trees, and ‘could’ have up to 90,000 street trees. Trees are necessary to improve air quality, reduce stormwater(see stormwater tab at the top) runoff, reduce energy costs, and create pride in each neighborhood. However, Pittsburgh’s inventory showed that we only had 31,524 street trees as of August 2005. At the same time, we became aware that 10% of this number of trees required removal over the next four years.

In 2015 a new street inventory was conducted.

A state-funded program called TreeVitalize has been planting since 2005. This partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Tree Pittsburgh and Allegheny County has resulted in over 20,000 trees to date being planted in various neighborhoods, and county parks.

The public is invited to enter the City’s inventory website, TreeKeeper Database, to check on the street trees in your neighborhood. The inventory is a snapshot of the urban forest the day you look at it, but remember that since trees are living organisms there are constant changes to the inventory based upon new pruning, removal, and planting data.