Forestry has prepared a landscape planning checklist to assist in the plan submittal and review process. Applicants submitting development / landscape plans to the City and County of Denver for review and approval should be aware of the requirements included in the checklist regarding trees in the Public Right of Way.
As a condition of any permit to demolish or construct any building containing a single unit dwelling, two-unit dwelling, or multi-unit dwelling in a Residential Zone District, the owner of the zone lot shall be required to preserve any established tree not otherwise diseased or decayed within the primary and side street setback areas of the zone lot. View a list of current zone districts.
In order to protect an established tree from damage or destruction and to enhance the tree's chance of survival after construction activities on the zone lot are completed, the owner shall take and maintain throughout the course of demolition or construction the following measures:
- Erect and maintain temporary fencing surrounding the area beneath the tree in order to mitigate the chance of impact injuries to the tree during demolition or construction;
- Refrain from operating construction equipment or storing construction materials beneath the canopy of the tree or engaging in other activities that would cause the undue compaction of the soil in the tree's root zone; and
- Refrain from any excavation beneath the canopy of the tree that would cause undue destruction of the tree's roots.
The owner may be relieved from the requirements of this Section only upon obtaining a permit for tree removal from the City Forester according to the provisions of Sections 57-20(b) and 57-25 of the D.RM.C.
To request an inspection for tree preservation send a message to ForestryResDev@denvergov.org.
Download the Demolition/Construction Information Form
These regulations are intended to serve as requirements for arboricultural activities on public right-of-way and other public places, and otherwise defines required practices and treatments pertaining within the City and County of Denver, Colorado. Any failure to comply with these regulations will be considered subject to prosecution or serve as a basis for a hearing conducted by the Manager of Parks and Recreation, or both.
All Public Right-of-Way, Park, Parkway or public space trees are protected by ordinance. Whenever trees are within or adjacent to a work zone, tree protection is required for the entire duration of the project, all the way through final completion. Find more information in the Details and Specifications tab below.
The Office of the City Forester should be notified three days prior to commencement of work, please call or email at (720) 913-0651, firstname.lastname@example.org.
No access, storage of materials, debris and/or equipment, or activity, including but not limited to, excavation, grading or grade changes, installation of underground utilities, and/or installation of site improvements, is permitted within tree protection zones (TPZ) without prior authorization and instruction from the Office of the City Forester. Any disruption of existing irrigation, the permittee must provide supplemental watering of any trees and landscape impacted as instructed by the Office of the City Forester and/or Parks Representative until the irrigation system is repaired. Removal or alteration of tree protection zones, or damage to public trees, shall result in issuance of penalties which may include compensation of lost value and /or cost of tree removal and replacement.
For plan review submittals, existing trees, notation of proposed retention or removal, tree protection zones, as well as all proposed work within the TPZ or proposed tree planting, must be shown on plans. Tree removals and planting must be approved and issued the required permit by the Office of the City Forester prior to work commencing. Applicants preparing plans should add the Tree Protection and/or Tree Planting Details to their plans prior to submittal for review. For a list of all plan review requirements, please see the landscape planning checklist in the Plan review process section.
One of the things that makes Denver such a beautiful, livable city is our diverse array of trees. Selecting the right tree for your site assures a healthy tree that will provide many years of benefits and enjoyment. Denver's Office of the City Forester has created a guide on recommended tree species, including other details such as size, appearance, moisture requirements, and other notes. Prohibited right-of-way tree species are also detailed. For more information, email email@example.com.
Trees in the approved list are those which, given proper and consistent maintenance including supplemental irrigation, proper pruning, and avoidance of chemical contaminants, will be assets to Denver’s urban canopy. When possible, obtain trees that have been grown from a local seed source. Locally grown trees will be adapted to our area’s highly variable, and often harsh, growing conditions. If locally grown trees cannot be obtained, source from locales that have similar growing conditions to our area (precipitation, soil pH, high/low temperatures, etc).
By Denver ordinance (§57-18), the adjoining property owner is responsible for all aspects of street tree care, including but not limited to; planting, pruning, vegetative litter clean-up, and removal. A free permit is required from the Office of the City Forester for tree planting and removal.
Prohibited Right-of-Way Trees
Per Forestry Rules and Regulations, the following trees may not be planted in the public right-of-way:
- Any of the poplar (Populus) species including cottonwoods and aspens
- Any of the willow (Salix) species
- Boxelder (Acer negundo)
- Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)
- Weeping and pendulous trees
- Multi-stemmed trees
- Ash (Fraxinus) species
- Walnut (Juglans) species
- Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
- Autumn Blaze / Freeman maple (Acer x freemannii)
- Sunburst honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis 'Sunburst')
- Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')
- Mulberry (Morus) species
- Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
- Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Trees not included on the approved street tree list may not be planted in the public right-of-way (as a street tree) without express permission from the Office of the City Forester. If a tree is excluded, it may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Office of the City Forester for details, site inspections, and planting permits.
Minimum Tree Spacing
- 35 feet between shade trees
- 25 feet between ornamental trees
- 30 feet from curb at intersections
- 20 feet from street lights
- 10 feet from alleys, driveways & fire hydrants
- 7 feet from attached sidewalks
- 5 feet from water meters
In partnership with the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency, the Office of the City Forester has developed a soil volume guide for anyone to reference and adapt per their unique contextual needs. The details are general representation and may require modification to fit actual field conditions. Most applications within the City are retrofit situations where one or more constraints such as limited right-of-way (ROW), significant grade difference, and sidewalk widths must be taken into account to provide recommended soil volume to trees. Design resources are available within the City to assist with the proper selection and application of the soil volume planting details to maintain applicable standards.
Download the Soil Volume Kit(PDF, 5MB)