FAQ - Trees

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  • What are the benefits of trees?

    • Improved air quality
    • Energy conservation
    • Storm water interception
    • Noise buffering
    • Wildlife food and shelter
    • Increase lifespan of pavement
    • Lower sidewalk and street temperatures

    Visit the national tree benefit calculator ( to calculate the value of a specific tree.

    Check out the Arbor Day Foundation ( and Trees Are Good ( for more tree benefits.

  • When do I need a tree permit?

    Generally, you will need a permit to remove trees on private and public property .  You will also need permission to prune or plant trees located in the City right-of-way.  If you are not sure if you need a permit, please call Building and Licensing at 302-227-4504.

  • Why do trees need to be protected during construction?

    Any construction activity or digging under a tree’s canopy (or the “dripline”) can harm or kill the tree.  A majority of the tree’s roots are in this zone and within the top 2 feet of the soil. Cutting roots and compacting soil should be avoided as much as possible. 

  • What can I do if a tree is damaging my sidewalk?

    If the tree is on city property and was planted by the city, please call Building & Licensing at 302-227-4504.  The city will evaluate both the tree and sidewalk to decide on the best course of action. If the tree is on private property or wasn’t planted by the city, the city may still be able to provide advice.

  • What can I do about tree roots getting into my sewer lines?

    Typically, tree roots only invade old lines where there is a leak.  Clay pipes are especially susceptible to root intrusion. Rarely do tree roots enter or crush sewer lines that are in good condition.  A plumber can use a camera to diagnose tree root intrusion.  The best solution is to replace the sewer line, but root removal from the pipe and sewer line repairs may also be an option.  The city typically will not remove a tree or issue a permit for sewer conflicts if there are other viable options.

  • Who takes care of trees growing into power lines?

    Delmarva Power coordinates pruning and removal of trees in conflict with power lines. You may contact Delmarva Power at 1-800-375-7117 for more information.

  • Who do I contact if a tree or shrub is blocking an intersection or sidewalk?

    Please fill out and return a 

    and the City Arborist will inspect the location to determine the appropriate action.

  • Can someone from the city evaluate my tree?

    No, the City cannot evaluate private trees. However, most tree companies will provide free estimates. 

  • Can the city recommend a tree contractor?

    No, the city cannot recommend any particular contractor.

  • How do I get a tree planted in the city right-of-way near my home?

    You may request to be added to the City’s Street Tree planting list by completing the 


  • My neighbor's tree overhangs my property. Can I prune the limbs back?

    We suggest that you first contact your neighbor to see if you can reach an agreement.  Your neighbor may not realize that the tree is affecting your property.

  • How can I get involved with trees and our urban forest?

    We are always looking for volunteers to help plant and maintain trees. Please contact the Building and Licensing Dept. to be added to our volunteer list.  You may also attend the Parks & Shade Tree Commission meetings. 

  • What can I do if I see someone  removing a tree without a permit?

    Please call Building and Licensing at 302-227-4504.  Any pertinent information you provide, such as a photo, company name, or address, will assist in the inquiry

  • How do I report a tree emergency?

    • Call 911 for any life threatening emergency.
    • General Tree Questions: City Arborist 302-227-4504
    • Trees and Power Lines: Delmarva Power 1-800-375-7117

Stay Informed!