Skip to Main Content

Skip To Search

The Official New York City WebsiteResidentsBusinessVisitorsGovernmentOffice of the Mayornyc.gov always open

Frequently Asked Street Tree Planting Questions

General

Where can I download the application and specifications?

Submit a Street Tree Planting Request
You may also use our new forestry service request system to submit a street tree planting request, and we’ll route your submission to the appropriate Parks Department division and provide you with a tracking number and details about how your request will be addressed.

Is the planting permit different from the one to work on or near a tree?

No. The form is the same, but you must fill in the appropriate information for tree planting work.

How much does the permit cost?

The permit is free.

When are the tree planting permits valid?

Unless otherwise directed, tree planting permits are only valid during the planting season for which they are issued.

Back to Top

Zoning Regulations

How does zoning affect me?

Every new construction and significant alteration filed after April 30, 2008 requires one tree to be planted per 25 feet of frontage. If you are unsure if you are required to plant, please contact DOB.

More information about the Street Tree Zoning Amendment (PDF)

All quality housing projects are required to plant trees regardless of the application date.

How do I know how many trees I am required to plant?

Generally, zoning requires one tree for every 25 feet of road frontage, but you will need to contact the DOB to find out what is required in your specific case.

If there is a tree already in front of my house, why do I still have to plant?

If there is more than 25 feet of frontage on your property, you will be required to plant more than one tree. DOB determines the number of total trees required. If you do not have enough existing trees to fulfill the requirement, you must plant.

Do existing trees count toward my planting requirement?

Yes. The requirements set out on the ST1 include existing trees in the calculation. You are credited one tree for every existing tree you have.

When should I apply for a street tree planting permit if I am building or renovating a building?

Street tree permit applications should be submitted once construction of the building is substantially complete. If the forester is unable to determine where building entrances, street furniture, and any other aspects of the building which may preclude planting are, they will be unable to issue a permit. If you apply too early, you will need to reapply once the construction is substantially complete.

DO NOT APPLY FOR A TREE PLANTING PERMIT UNTIL CONSTRUCTION IS SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETE.

Where can I get an ST–1 and what is it for?

You can download the ST–1 form (PDF).

You can also download ST–1 form instructions (PDF) on how to fill out the form and read an explanation of what the form.

Back to Top

Tree Fund Payment

What if I already submitted an ST–1 and now, instead of planting off–site, I want to pay into the fund?

You can fax or email Central Forestry a letter requesting to pay into the fund that includes your permit application number. If you do not know your permit application number, you will need to include your BIS# and the address of the building associated with the off–site along with your contact details. You will then need to submit an amended ST–1 to DOB.

Download the ST–1 Form (PDF)

Instructions for filling out the ST–1 form (PDF)

The form must be typed, notarized, and signed by the appropriate parties. For more information, see ’How do I pay into the Tree Planting Fund?’

Central Forestry Contact information:

Fax: (718) 760–6640

Mail: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Central Forestry and Horticulture
Olmsted Center
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Flushing, NY 11368

Email: Treeplanting.Permits@parks.nyc.gov

How much does a tree cost if I pay into the tree fund?

The payment is $1,900 for each tree.

I have room for trees in front of my property, but I would rather pay into the tree fund. Can I do that?

If you have room to plant trees on–site, you are only eligible to pay into the fund outside of a planting season.

Dates you CAN pay into the tree fund for onsite trees:

  • January 1, 2009 – February 21, 2009
  • April 20, 2009 – September 23, 2009
  • November 17, 2009 – December 31, 2009

Dates of the planting season:

  • March 1, 2009 – May 31, 2009
  • October 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009

How do I pay into the Tree Planting Fund?

In order to pay into the fund, you must be required to plant trees by either zoning regulations passed on April 30, 2008 or Quality Housing requirements. If you are eligible pay for a tree (or trees) to be planted, contact Central Forestry at (718) 760–6794.

There are 2 reasons to pay into the planting fund:

  1. You are requesting your Certificate of Occupancy out of planting season.
    Dates you CAN pay into the tree fund for onsite trees:
    • January 1, 2009 – February 21, 2009
    • April 20, 2009 – September 23, 2009
    • November 17, 2009 – December 31, 2009
    Dates of the planting season:
    • March 1, 2009 – May 31, 2009
    • October 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009
  2. You are required to plant off–site and wish to pay the Parks department to plant for you. This can occur year–round.

In both cases, to pay into the Fund you must submit a Tree Fund Payment Application. Please complete all required fields of the application and fax, mail, or email it to Parks’ Central Forestry Division.

Fax: (718) 760–6640

Mail: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Central Forestry and Horticulture
Olmsted Center
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Flushing, NY 11368

Email: Treeplanting.Permits@parks.nyc.gov

Once the application has been processed, you will be issued an invoice within 10 days via fax or mail. You can now pay your invoice at the Arsenal in Manhattan, either in person or by mail. Payments must be made with cashier’s or certified checks ONLY. If you go in person, you will receive your sealed receipt immediately. If you mail your payment, you will receive the receipt in the mail within three weeks. This receipt is all you need from Parks for your Certificate of Occupancy as long as you have no on–site planting requirements during planting season.

Can I get my money back?

If you apply to pay the refundable deposit, eligible applicants will receive a refund if all work is completed within six months.

What if I want to plant when the season starts, but I need my Certificate of Occupancy now?

In this case, the applicant can pay a deposit to the Tree Fund which will be refunded once the required trees are properly planted during the next approved planting season. The payee should indicate on the Tree Fund Payment Application that they will seek a refund if they are able to plant the tree(s) themselves based on construction schedule changes or other logistical circumstances. If a refund may be sought, the payee must check the appropriate box on the application. Parks will allow the applicant a period of six months from receipt of the application to plant trees during an approved planting season. The deposit will be returned upon completion of the final sign–off inspection verifying proper planting according to Parks’ Standards. If trees are not planted to our specifications, the applicant may not be eligible for a refund. In this event, Parks will retain the funds and plant the tree(s). Before planting, one must also apply for a street tree planting permit and state on the permit that they have applied to pay the refundable deposit.

Note: If after six months the applicant has not requested a final inspection, the refund will be forfeited and Parks will plant the tree(s).

The following are examples of violations that will likely delay your final sign–off and refund:

  • The tree pit size does not match the Work Order
  • The size of the tree is incorrect
  • The species of tree is incorrect
  • The tree location is incorrect
  • The tree is not planted to the correct depth
  • The tree is not in excellent condition
  • The tree was planted outside of the planting season
  • The tree bed was not backfilled with good soil
  • The burlap and top half of basket was not removed
  • The paving, if applicable, is not installed to Parks’ standards
  • The tree is not mulched properly
  • The stakes and Arbor Tie™ (or equivalent material) are not installed correctly.

How much is this refundable deposit?

$1,900 per required tree.

Back to Top

Permit Processing

Where must I bring my Tree Fund Payment?

At this time, you can only pay in Manhattan at Parks’ headquarters:

The Arsenal
Central Park (at East 64th Street)
830 Fifth Avenue, Room 1
New York, New York 10065

As the other borough permit offices begin to accept money for tree planting, they will be publicized.

Why is it taking so long to receive my permit/final sign–off? I need my sign–off now, and I am losing money!

There is a three–week turnaround time from the date we receive your complete application or sign–off request to the date you get your permit/sign–off. If you receive a “stop the clock” letter during the process, the three–week time clock is put on hold until you have corrected the issue, at which point the clock will re–start.

Why does it take up to three weeks?

NYC Parks is balancing inspecting all new tree planting locations throughout the entire five boroughs. Each site is visited by a NYC Parks forester and inspected before a permit is issued. Each site is carefully analyzed to ensure where trees can and cannot be placed and then to determine the species of tree to be planted at each location. We also have to update our records every time an application is received from either the applicant or from a Forester returning from an inspection. Please be patient and do not call asking for updates, unless it has taken longer than three weeks.

What would cause me to get a “stop the clock” letter?

How do I renew a permit from a previous season?

Permits can only be renewed once and only in the season immediately following the original application. To apply for a renewal, you must submit a letter requesting the renewal including the original application date, permit/application number, and the planting address. We MUST have this information to process your request. You may be asked to send additional documentation from your original permit application. The letter can be submitted via:

Fax: (718) 760–6640

Mail: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Central Forestry and Horticulture
Olmsted Center
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Flushing, NY 11368

E–mail: Treeplanting.Permits@parks.nyc.gov

If your permit is older than the previous season, you will have to reapply for the permit.

Back to Top

Planting Process

Do I have to hire a contractor to plant the tree?

No, however the tree must be planted according to Parks’ standards.

Tree Planting Standards (PDF, 480 kB)

Street Tree Planting Requirements for New Buildings

Why do I have to plant on someone else’s property?

You will never be required to plant on someone else’s property. Off–site locations are in the public right–of–way and are City property. All street trees are under the jurisdiction of NYC Parks & Recreation.

You can always opt to pay into the fund in lieu of planting off–site.

What is the standard tree pit size?

There is no standard tree pit size. Pits should be as large as possible. Anything below 30 square feet would need to be cleared by Central Forestry at the BPP submission stage. The tree pit size is ultimately decided by a Parks forester and is entirely site specific. You will be asked to enlarge a tree pit if the site can accommodate it. If you intend to plant trees in a lawn strip, the strip must be three feet wide or larger. Remember, trees are ALIVE and they GROW, so the bigger the tree pit the better.

My BPP shows 5'x5' tree pits, but your forester has specified 5'x7' tree pits. What do I do?

You must submit a revised BPP to DOB which reflects the appropriate changes. You should bring the Tree Planting permit with you to demonstrate the changes that we require.

Why do I have to expand the pit? DOB said 5'x5' was ok.

Parks’ regulations must be followed whenever street trees are involved.

If I cannot find my species in the nurseries, what do I do?

Contact Central Forestry to report the problem. A forester may change your species or tell you where you can find the assigned species.

I only have access to one type of species, why can’t I plant that type?

Contractors should not obtain trees before receiving the permit from Parks. The species to be planted is determined by a Parks Forester. His/her decision will be enforced.

How do I get a final sign–off?

You must submit a letter or email to Central Forestry requesting a final sign–off including your Parks application number and photos of the work done that shows the address. A final sign–off inspection can fail for a number of reasons, so be sure to carefully read the following documents:

Tree Planting Standards (PDF, 480 kB)

Street Tree Planting Requirements for New Buildings

When are the planting seasons?

Fall: October 1–December 31
Spring: March 1–May 31

What do I do if I receive a punch list?

Complete the items on the punch list then email (treeplanting.permits@parks.nyc.gov) or fax (718–760–6640) Parks photos of the completed work along with a request for re–inspection. Re–inspection requests will only be honored with photo documentation. These requests cannot be taken over the phone. If you are seeking a refundable deposit from the Tree Fund, you are only allowed one month from the issued date of the punch list to request a re–inspection.

Back to Top

Tree Guards

Do I need a permit to install a tree guard?

Yes, call your Borough Forestry Office to receive a permit for work on or near a tree.

Tree Work Permit Application (PDF, 190 kB)

Be sure to check the ‘Install Decorations’ box and state that you would like to install a tree guard.

Can I put a fence around my trees, or will the city do it?

The protective ‘fences’ around trees are referred to as tree guards. You are welcome to install a tree guard on your trees, as long as you apply for a permit and install an approved guard. Below are examples of good and bad tree guards.

Good Tree Guards:

Good Tree Guard Good Tree Guard Good Tree Guard

Bad Tree Guards:

Bad Tree Guard Bad Tree Guard Bad Tree Guard

Be sure to apply for the permit BEFORE installation, so you do not have to remove your tree guard.

Tree Work Permit Application (PDF, 190 kB)

Be sure to select ‘install decorations’ on the application and indicate that you would like to install a tree guard. This item is handled by your Borough Forestry Office.

You can also donate to the New York Tree Trust to have a guard installed by the city.

Back to Top

For additional frequently asked questions regarding the permit process for new buildings and major enlargement projects, please see the Parks Plan Review Frequently Asked Questions