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Tree Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if it is a city tree vs.  a private tree on my property?
The majority of city trees are planted in the public right-of-way areas along the front section of your property which is usually the area between the sidewalk and the street curb. If you do not have a sidewalk, or are unsure who the tree belongs to, please call the Parks and Facilities office for assistance at 240-314-8700, Monday-Friday, between 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

How do I report hanging tree branches or downed trees?

To report a downed tree or hanging branches, call 240-314-8700 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. All other times, call the Rockville police non-emergency line at 240-314-8900. If a tree or branch has caused electric utility wires to come down, call Pepco's 24-hour emergency line at 1-877-737-2662.

Who do I call when a tree or branch is on my electric line?
Immediately call Pepco for branches or trees that are affecting your power line at 1-877-737-2662

How do I request maintenance or an inspection of the street tree near my home?
You can submit a request to Forestry by filling out a Tree Service Request Form or by calling the Parks and Facilities Office at 240-314-8700, Monday - Friday between 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Can I prune the street tree near my home?
It is illegal for residents to prune or otherwise impact trees within the public right-of-way unless they have acquired a Roadside Tree Permit from the state.  Trees within a public right-of-way in the State of Maryland are subject to the provisions of the Maryland Roadside Tree LawThe city has a Roadside Tree Blanket Permit  from the state to perform work on street trees. Please contact the city to request pruning.

How do I request a new street tree to be planted in front of my home?
Simply fill out the Tree Service Request Form or call the Parks and Facilities Office at 240-314-8700, Monday-Friday, between 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

What type of tree is scheduled to be planted in front of my home?
The city’s Master Street Tree Plan details the type of tree species to be planted based on your street and address.  

Who do I call if I am concerned about a private tree in my neighbor’s yard that maybe hazardous to my property?
First, talk to your neighbor and try to resolve the situation. City Code requires that a property owner resolve situations that threaten public safety. If a tree or branch is determined to be hazardous and could potentially harm adjoining property, the Code Enforcement Division can cite the property owner to correct the problem. Contact Code Enforcement at
240-314-8330.

Do I need permission from the city to remove a tree on my property?
Trees located on individual residential lots that are not located within the Historic District may be removed without permission from the city. 

Residents should also check with their HOA's to determine if there are any restrictions regarding private tree removal.

Significant trees (12 inches in diameter and greater) that are located on HOA common ground or on commercial property cannot be removed without a permit issued by the City Forester. You can apply for a significant tree removal permit if a tree or trees need to be removed.

Before removing healthy trees from your property, please remember that urban tree canopy is important to the city and residents should consider the environmental benefits that trees provide. 

Why prune trees?
Trees must be pruned in order to maintain their health and improve structural integrity.

Young trees should be pruned, so they develop proper structure to minimize future maintenance. The city also prunes street trees to improve lighting, maintain visibility of street signs and to provide clearance for streets, sidewalks and utilities. City streets are safer and more attractive when they are well lit and lined by healthy trees.

Neglected trees can quickly become a nuisance and pose a danger to the public. Pepco routinely performs electric line clearance within the city to minimize power disruptions during storms. City crews are not authorized to perform electric line clearance.

Residents are encouraged to have their private trees inspected by a certified arborist regularly and have them pruned as needed.

Why are trees removed?
The city removes trees only when they are dead, diseased or dying and threaten public safety. Occasionally a healthy tree must be removed due to utility conflicts, sight line issues, or to implement roadway and pedestrian improvements. The city will plants replacement trees after tree removal if it is determined that there is sufficient space for a new tree.

Who is responsible when tree roots grow into my sewer pipe?
Property owners are responsible for the section of sewer pipe that is located on their property. The city’s Department of Public Works is responsible for the sewer pipe located within the public right-of-way. The city will not remove trees due to sewer blockages. Tree roots only invade pipes that are flawed due to settlement, poor installation, or age. Removing a tree will not repair a flawed pipe. If you have a root issue, please contact the Public Works Department, at 240-314-8570.

What can be done about surface roots?
Surface roots can become a problem in older trees, making it difficult to cut grass. Roots should not be cut in this situation because this injures the tree and creates an avenue for decay. It is better to apply a layer of mulch. If mulch is not practical, cover the roots with a small amount of quality top soil and reseed the area.