Permit Application Center Planning Desk
555 Liberty St. SE
Room 320
Salem, OR 97301


Mailing Address
555 Liberty St. SE
Room 305
Salem, OR 97301


Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



Can You Remove Trees on Your Property?

worker in cherry picker trimming tree branches

Information on this page covers trees on private property and certain types of protected trees and vegetation (e.g. Oregon White Oaks, Riparian Trees and Native Vegetation, Trees over 30 inches dbh, etc.) regardless of location. If you suspect that trees are being improperly removed, please contact Code Compliance.

Information on City-Owned Trees

To determine if your tree can be removed, first determine whether or not the tree is a city-owned tree. City owned trees are those between the street and sidewalk, or if the sidewalk is next to the street, those trees directly behind the sidewalk, trees within parks and any tree growing in the right of way.

If it is not a city-owned tree, you will first need to find out if your tree is protected or not. If the tree is protected, it must meet certain requirements for you to apply for and receive a tree removal permit. Additionally, trees and shrubs are required for all businesses, schools, and apartment complexes and cannot be removed without prior approval. Review Landscaping for Businesses for more details.

You might need a permit or other approval before removing a tree on your property. Certain trees are protected in Salem, even on private property. Salem Revised Code (SRC) Chapter 808 outlines requirements for tree conservation and removal in Salem. SRC Chapter 807 outlines requirements for landscaping, including shrubs and trees, for all properties, except single family developments.

Generally, a tree is any living, woody plant that grows to 15 feet tall or more, typically has a trunk that is 10 inches or more wide when measured at a height of 4.5 feet, and has an upright arrangement of branches and leaves.

Removal of a tree means to cut down a tree or remove 30 percent or more of the crown, trunk, or root system of a tree; or to damage a tree so as to cause the tree to decline or die. The term removal also includes, topping, damage inflicted upon a root system by application of toxic substances, operation of equipment and vehicles, storage of materials, change of natural grade due to unapproved excavation or filling, or unapproved alteration of natural physical conditions.

The term removal does not include normal trimming or pruning of trees; permits are not needed for normal trimming and pruning.

Step 1: Determine if your tree is protected
Step 2: Determine if you meet permit requirements
Step 3: Apply for a tree removal permit
Step 4: Application review