Removing a Dangerous Tree Over Lake Union in Seattle

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Seattle Tree FAQ

Do I Need to Post a Tree Notice in Seattle Before Removing or Pruning a Tree? 

Yes, effective November 30 2022 all trees being pruned or removed in Seattle must have a notice posted. Here is the PDF form. If you don’t do this, the city can issue a fine. 

How Much Does Tree Removal Cost

 The cost of tree trimming can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the size and height of the tree, the complexity of the job, the number of branches to be trimmed, the location, and the tree trimming service you hire. Other factors that can affect the cost include accessibility issues, equipment required, and any additional services requested.

Tree People Tree Care provides free estimates in Seattle. Costs start at $275 and are determined by the scope of work. Our estimates are emailed with all prices itemized.

If a Neighbor’s Tree Falls on My Property Who is Responsible for Removal?

When a tree falls from one property onto another, determining who is responsible for removal can be complex and may depend on local laws, the specific circumstances of the incident, and potentially both property owners’ insurance policies.

If the tree was clearly dead or dying and the owner neglected to address it after being made aware, they might be held liable for the damages, since this could be seen as negligence. Evidence such as letters you’ve written to your neighbor expressing concern about the tree could be helpful in such a situation.

Who is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal?

In the city of Seattle, the responsibility for a fallen tree and any resulting damages can depend on various factors. Generally, if a tree falls on your property due to natural causes such as a storm, the responsibility for removing the tree and repairing any damage would typically fall to the property owner where the tree fell.

However, if the tree was in an unhealthy or hazardous condition, and the property owner was aware of this but failed to take appropriate action to address the issue, they could be held liable for the damages. In such cases, it may be possible to seek compensation from the tree owner for the costs associated with removal and repairs.

It’s important to note that specific laws and regulations can vary, and it’s recommended to consult with local authorities or legal professionals to understand the precise responsibilities in your situation. Additionally, reviewing any local ordinances or homeowners association rules can provide further guidance on tree-related responsibilities within your area.

What Do Tree Removal Companies Do with the Wood?

Tree branch debris is chipped and donated to various places that need woodchips in the Seattle area and the chunks of wood are donated to people that need firewood. Some of Tree People’s clients like to keep their wood to split themselves for firewood.

When feesable, Tree People works with local woodworkers, artisans, or craftsmen who specialize in creating unique pieces of furniture, sculptures, or artwork from wood. This promotes sustainability and supports local creative industries. 

Who to Contact for Hazardous Tree Removal in Seattle?

Tree People is a full service tree care company that provides hazardous tree removal in Seattle for private property owners.

To report a hazardous or fallen tree on Seattle public property, contact the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, or Seattle City Light, depending on the location of the tree. Here are the contact details for each department:

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT):

Seattle Parks and Recreation Department:

Seattle City Light: 



Who Pays for Tree Removal After Storm?

The responsibility for paying for tree removal after a storm typically depends on the circumstances and location. Here are a few common scenarios:

Private Property: If a tree falls on your property during a storm, it may be your responsibility to arrange and pay for its removal. This includes any cleanup and repairs required as a result of the fallen tree. Homeowners’ insurance policies may provide coverage for such incidents, so it’s worth checking your policy to see if tree removal is included.

Public Property: If a tree falls on public property such as a road, sidewalk, or park, the responsibility for tree removal usually lies with the relevant authority or municipality. They have the resources and staff to handle such situations and ensure public safety.

Shared Property: In cases where a fallen tree affects shared or common property, such as a homeowner’s association (HOA) or a condominium, the responsibility for tree removal may be shared among the affected parties. The specific rules and regulations of the shared property will determine who is responsible for the cost and coordination of tree removal.

It’s important to note that insurance coverage, local regulations, and specific circumstances can vary. It’s recommended to review your insurance policy, consult local authorities, or seek legal advice to understand the specific responsibilities and options for tree removal after a storm in your area.

What to Do After Tree Stump Removal?

The mulch created from the stump grinding fills the hole. Tree People will grind your stump and advise on how best to prepare the ground, whether you plant grass or another tree.


What Kind of Damage Does Tree Removal Cause to the Lawn

Tree People will take every precaution to minimize damage to your lawn.

What is a Habitat Snag?

A habitat snag, also simply known as a “snag,” refers to a standing, dead or dying tree, often with missing branches and top, that contributes to the overall health of a forest ecosystem. Snags provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, offering essential resources such as food, shelter, and nesting or roosting sites to birds, mammals, insects, and fungi. Snags are an important component of natural landscapes and forest management, often deliberately left standing when other trees are cut down to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem health. If safety isn’t a concern (such as near buildings or areas frequently visited by people), snags are generally left in place for their ecological value.

Who Checks the Permits for Tree Removal?

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) is the agency responsible for checking permits for tree removal in Seattle. The SDCI issues tree removal permits as part of its mission to regulate land use and construction within the city of Seattle.

Tree People will ensure that you have the necessary permits before removing your tree. We are fluent in our local regulations and can file all permits for you or help guide you through the process. 

What Situations Are Tree Removal Services Needed?

Tree removal may be necessary in a number of different situations. Here are some common examples:

Dead or Dying Trees: If a tree is dead or dying, it can become a hazard. The tree may lose branches or even fall, posing a danger to people and property nearby. A tree professional can assess whether a tree can be saved or whether it needs to be removed.

Disease: Trees can get infected by a variety of diseases that can impact their health and structural integrity. If a tree is heavily infected and there’s a risk of the disease spreading to other trees, it might be best to remove it.

Storm Damage: Trees that have been severely damaged in storms, with large limbs broken or the majority of their canopy destroyed, may need to be removed to ensure safety.

Unsafe Location: If a tree is located too close to a home or other structure, its roots can damage the foundation or its branches can pose a threat to the structure. Similarly, trees growing near power lines can be a hazard.

Construction and Landscaping: Sometimes, trees may need to be removed to make way for new construction or to implement a new landscape design.

Invasive Species: In some cases, a tree may be an invasive species that’s crowding out native plants or negatively affecting local ecosystems, which may necessitate its removal.

Poor Health: Trees showing signs of decline, such as significant loss of leaves, rot, fungi growth, or unusual insect activity, may need to be removed.

Overcrowding: If trees are too close together, they might not get enough light or nutrients to thrive. In some cases, it might be necessary to remove one or more trees to give the remaining trees a better chance at healthy growth.

What is Better Tree Stump Removal or Grinding?

The choice between stump removal and stump grinding depends on your specific needs, resources, and the long-term plans for your landscape. Here’s a breakdown of the two methods:

Stump Grinding:

Pros: This process involves grinding the tree stump down to a few inches below ground level, and it’s often faster, less disruptive to the surrounding landscape, and more cost-effective than full stump removal. It leaves behind a mound of useful mulch or wood chips that can be repurposed elsewhere in your garden.

Cons: The downside is that it some cases, it leaves the tree’s roots behind, which will decompose over time but can take several years. This usually isn’t an issue but sometimes, depending on the type of tree, suckers can grow from the remaining roots, though this is generally rare and specific to tree species.)

Stump Removal:

Pros: This is a more exhaustive process that removes both the stump and the roots. This isn’t usually necessary even if you plan to plant a new tree in the exact location. If the tree is of a type that frequently sprouts new growth from left-behind roots this might be advisable.

Cons: The process is usually more expensive and disruptive to the surrounding landscape, as it often requires the use of heavy machinery and leaves a large hole that will need to be filled in.

In general, for most homeowners, stump grinding is typically the better option due to its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and less destructive process. Tree People offers stump grinding services to the greater Seattle area.

Will Stump Grinding Damage the Lawn?

Stump grinding is generally not damaging to your yard when done correctly by a professional. Tree People’s stump grinder only targets the specific area where the tree stump is located, reducing it to wood chips and leaving the surrounding area mostly undisturbed. The wood chips fill the hole and can be used as mulch in other areas of your garden.


What is a Tree Ordinance?

A tree ordinance, also known as a tree preservation ordinance or tree protection ordinance, is a local law or regulation enacted by a city, municipality, or other governing body to protect and manage trees within a designated jurisdiction. They establish guidelines and standards for the protection and management of trees, including provisions for tree removal permits, tree replacement requirements, tree care and maintenance practices, and penalties for non-compliance.

Seattle tree ordinances regulate the planting, removal, and maintenance of trees in order to preserve and enhance the urban forest, promote environmental sustainability, and maintain the aesthetic and ecological value of an area. They play an important role in urban planning and environmental stewardship by helping to conserve and protect trees, which provide numerous benefits such as improving air quality, mitigating climate change, reducing stormwater runoff, and enhancing the overall quality of life in a community.

Who is Responsible for Trimming Street Trees in Seattle?

RCW 64.12.030

In Seattle, the responsibility for maintaining and trimming street trees typically falls on the adjacent property owner. This includes not only the trees growing directly on a person’s property, but also those in the public right-of-way, such as sidewalks and planting strips.

According to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), property owners are responsible for ensuring that tree branches do not obstruct pedestrians or vehicles. SDOT recommends clearance of at least 7.5 feet over sidewalks and 14 feet over all roads.

Property owners are responsible for maintaining these trees and there are specific regulations and permits required for pruning. Tree People will file your permit in addition to pruning any parking strips you are responsible for.

Proper tree care is important for the health of your tree and the safety of the community. Pruning should be done in a way that does not harm the tree’s overall health or stability. Improper pruning can lead to tree damage, decay, or even create a hazardous situation if the tree becomes unstable.

Tree People will maintain your street trees and ensure you are in compliance with The City of Seattle.

How often do I Need to Trim my Trees?

The frequency at which you need to trim your trees in Seattle depends on several factors, including the type of trees, their growth rate, and your desired outcome. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Young Trees: Young trees typically require more frequent trimming to establish a proper shape and structure. This helps them develop strong branches and promotes healthy growth. Prune young trees annually or every two years, focusing on corrective pruning and removing any damaged or crossing branches.

Mature Trees: Mature trees generally require less frequent trimming. Regular maintenance pruning every 3-5 years can help remove dead, diseased, or weak branches, improve air circulation, and maintain the tree’s overall health. However, the specific timing may vary based on the tree species and its growth characteristics.

Flowering Trees: Flowering trees may have specific requirements for pruning, depending on the type and timing of their blooms. It’s recommended to research the specific pruning needs of your flowering tree species to ensure you don’t inadvertently remove buds or disrupt flowering cycles.

Hazardous or Fast-growing Trees: Trees that pose a safety risk due to their proximity to structures or power lines should be trimmed more frequently to maintain a safe clearance. Fast-growing trees may also require more regular trimming to prevent overgrowth and maintain their shape.

Seasonal Considerations: Pruning during the dormant season (late winter or early spring) is generally recommended for most tree species. This allows the tree to recover quickly and minimizes the risk of disease or pest infestations. However, certain trees, like some fruit trees, may require specific pruning at other times of the year to maximize fruit production.

It’s always advisable to consult with a certified arborists, Tree People can assess your specific trees and provide personalized recommendations for trimming frequency and techniques.


Who Do You Call to Report a Fallen Tree in Seattle?

To report a hazardous or fallen tree on Seattle public property, contact the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, or Seattle City Light, depending on the location of the tree. Here are the contact details for each department:

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT):

Seattle Parks and Recreation Department:

Seattle City Light: 


Can I prune a city tree?

“You will need a permit if your proposed work involves planting or removing/replacing a tree. If your proposed work involves major pruning, which includes pruning branches or roots that are larger than 2 inches or which comprise more than 15% of foliage-bearing area, a permit is required.” –

How Long has Tree People Been in Business?

We have proudly served the Seattle area since 2013. Tree People owner, James Wyland honed his skills in both Washington and California in the mid aughts before staring Tree People in his hometown of Seattle. 

Is Tree Work Tax Deductible?

IRS generally does not allow you to deduct the costs of tree work or landscaping on your personal property for federal income tax purposes in the United States. This is because these are considered personal expenses. Personal expenses are typically not tax-deductible.

However, there are some exceptions. If the trees are being removed or pruned as part of a home improvement project, you may add the cost to the basis of your property, which could reduce the amount of tax you pay when you sell the property.

Another exception is if you use part of your home exclusively for business. In this case, a portion of your landscaping costs might be considered a business expense and could potentially be deducted.

Finally, if you’ve suffered a casualty loss – for example, if a tree was damaged or destroyed due to a storm or other sudden event – you may be able to claim a deduction for your loss, subject to certain limitations and thresholds.

Keep in mind that tax laws are complex and subject to change. It’s always best to consult with a tax professional or CPA who is up-to-date with the current tax code to ensure you are receiving the most accurate and timely information.

What is an Exceptional Tree?

The City of Seattle’s tree protection ordinance specifically defines an exceptional tree as: “A tree that: 1) Is designated by the city as a heritage tree; or 2) Is rare or exceptional by virtue of its size, species, condition, cultural/historic importance, age, and/or contribution as part of a grove of trees.”

Size, in particular, plays a significant role in defining an exceptional tree. Different species have different size requirements to be considered exceptional. This is typically measured by the tree’s diameter at breast height (DBH). The intent of designating trees as exceptional is to provide them with additional protections due to their ecological importance, their contributions to Seattle’s urban forest, and the benefits they provide such as carbon sequestration, stormwater retention, habitat, and aesthetic value.

Seattle Urban Forestry Commision


Why is my Laurel Hedge Patchy?

If you don’t trim your laurel hedge regularly, it may become patchy over time. Laurel hedges generally benefit from regular pruning to maintain their shape and encourage dense growth. Here’s how infrequent trimming can lead to patchiness:

Overgrowth and shading: When a laurel hedge is left untrimmed for an extended period, it tends to become dense and bushy. The upper portions of the hedge may shade the lower sections, blocking sunlight and inhibiting the growth of foliage in those areas. This can result in patchiness, with thin or bare spots in the lower regions.

Limited branching and new growth: Regular trimming promotes branching and stimulates the growth of new shoots. When a laurel hedge is not trimmed regularly, it may experience limited branching, particularly in the inner portions. This can lead to gaps and patchiness as the hedge becomes thinner in certain areas.

Uneven growth: Without regular pruning, a laurel hedge may develop uneven growth patterns. Some sections may grow more vigorously than others, leading to an imbalanced appearance. The areas that receive more light or nutrients may thrive, while shaded or crowded sections may become patchy.

To avoid patchiness and maintain a healthy laurel hedge:

Establish a regular trimming schedule: Determine the appropriate frequency for trimming your laurel hedge based on its growth rate and desired shape. Typically, laurel hedges are trimmed once or twice a year, ideally in early spring and late summer or early fall.

Prune for density: When trimming, focus on maintaining an even and dense structure throughout the hedge. Regular pruning encourages lateral branching and fuller growth, reducing the likelihood of patchiness.

Avoid drastic pruning: While laurel hedges can tolerate significant pruning, it’s generally best to avoid drastic or severe cuts, especially if your goal is to maintain a dense and uniform appearance. Gradual, moderate pruning helps ensure a balanced growth pattern.

By following a consistent trimming routine and providing appropriate care, you can help prevent patchiness and maintain a healthy and vibrant laurel hedge.

Do I need to Cable my Tree?

Cabling a tree is done to provide additional support to its branches or trunk, especially if they are weak, damaged, or at risk of breaking. It involves installing cables or rods to help redistribute the tree’s weight and reduce stress on vulnerable areas.

Determining whether your tree needs cabling depends on various factors, including the tree’s health, structural integrity, and potential risks. Consult with Tree People’s certified arborists, we will assess your specific tree and provide expert advice.

If you notice signs of structural instability, such as large or heavy branches that appear likely to fail, significant cracks or splits in the trunk, or a leaning trunk, it’s essential to have a professional evaluate the tree’s condition. We will be able to determine if cabling is necessary to ensure the safety and longevity of the tree.

Cabling is not always advised. If a limb has been damaged to a certain degree the branch will require removal. Tree People can assess your tree and address any potential risks caused by strained or damaged limbs.


Why is Proper Pruning Angle Important?

The angle of pruning a tree branch is important because it can significantly impact the overall health and stability of the tree. Here are a few reasons why the angle of pruning is crucial:

Wound Healing: When a branch is pruned, it creates a wound on the tree. The angle of the cut affects the size and shape of the wound. A proper pruning angle helps the tree to heal more effectively and efficiently. If the cut is made too close to the trunk or main branch, it creates a larger wound that takes longer to heal, making the tree more susceptible to diseases and pests.

Branch Strength: The angle of a pruned branch can influence its strength and stability. When a branch grows naturally, it develops a strong attachment to the tree trunk or main branch, forming a collar where the two connect. By pruning a branch just outside the collar and making a clean cut, you preserve the branch’s strength and ensure it can support its own weight. An improper pruning angle can weaken the branch attachment, leading to potential failure or breakage.

Decay and Disease Prevention: Pruning a branch at the correct angle minimizes the risk of decay and disease. When a cut is made too close to the trunk or main branch, it exposes a larger surface area, which increases the chances of fungal or bacterial infection. By following proper pruning techniques and angles, you reduce the size of the wound, allowing the tree to compartmentalize and heal more effectively, minimizing the risk of infection.

Aesthetics and Tree Form: Pruning at the appropriate angle helps maintain the natural form and aesthetics of the tree. Improper pruning angles can result in unsightly stubs or uneven growth patterns, detracting from the tree’s appearance and potentially affecting its overall shape and symmetry.

It is important to note that the ideal pruning angle can vary depending on the species of the tree and the specific circumstances. In general, pruning cuts are typically made just outside the branch collar, which is the slightly swollen area where the branch connects to the trunk.

Is my Birch Infested with Borers?

To determine if your birch tree is infested with birch borers, you can look for the following signs and symptoms:

Dying or Wilting Branches: Infested birch trees may exhibit branches that appear weak, wilted, or have a lack of foliage compared to the rest of the tree.

Discolored Foliage: Check for leaves that display unusual discoloration, such as yellowing, browning, or premature leaf drop.

Bark Cracks and Holes: Birch borers create small, D-shaped exit holes in the bark as they emerge as adults. Look for these holes or cracks in the bark, typically near the base of the trunk or on branches.

Sawdust or Frass: Look for fine sawdust or frass (insect excrement) around the base of the tree, near branch crotches, or within cracks and crevices of the bark.

Larval Galleries: If you suspect an infestation, carefully remove a small section of bark from an affected area. Look for winding, S-shaped galleries created by the borer larvae beneath the bark.

Woodpecker Activity: Woodpeckers are known to feed on borers in trees. Increased woodpecker activity, such as drumming or pecking on the trunk or branches of a birch tree, can indicate the presence of borers.

If you observe one or more of these symptoms, your Birch tree may be infested with borers. Tree People does not provide chemical treatments for borer infestations but can remove your dying branches and give you a list of local companies who specialize in tree diseases.

Is my Tree Dying?

Identifying a dying tree involves observing several key signs. The following are indicators your tree may be dying: 

Dead or dying branches: Dead branches, also known as ‘dieback’, are often a sign of a tree in distress. If the branches are dry, brittle, and break easily, it’s possible that they are dead. Often these branches will lack bark and leaves.

Fungal growth: If you notice large fungi, like mushrooms, growing on the tree’s bark, or at the base of the tree, it’s often a sign of internal rot and could indicate that the tree is dying.

Peeling or chipping bark: A healthy tree will have a strong layer of bark. If the bark is easily peeled off or is falling off in large chunks, it may indicate a problem. It is important to note, though, that some trees naturally shed bark as they grow, so context is important here.

Leaf problems: If your tree’s leaves are discolored, wilted, or if they fall off before autumn (for deciduous trees), it might be a sign of tree disease. Evergreen trees that are turning yellow or brown can also be a sign of ill health.

Trunk damage: Cracks, splits, or large wounds in the trunk could indicate a structural problem that could lead to the tree’s death.

Root problems: It’s hard to see directly, but if your tree is leaning dramatically, it may have root damage. Any visible roots should appear strong and healthy, not soft, mushy, or rotten.

Poor overall growth: If your tree isn’t growing as fast as others of the same species, it could be a sign of a larger issue.

Remember, it’s often a combination of these factors that indicate a tree is dying, not just one. If you’re unsure about your tree’s health, consult with our certified arborists at Tree People, we can give you a more accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

Is Ivy Bad for my Tree?

Ivy can potentially harm trees if it grows extensively and becomes too dense. While ivy itself is not inherently destructive to trees, it can create problems under certain circumstances. Here are a few ways ivy can impact trees:

Competition for resources: Ivy competes with trees for sunlight, water, and nutrients. If the ivy covers a significant portion of the tree’s canopy, it may limit sunlight penetration and reduce the tree’s ability to photosynthesize.

Weight and structural stress: Ivy can add significant weight to the branches and canopy of a tree. This extra weight, particularly during storms or high winds, can increase the risk of branch failure or uprooting.

Enhanced moisture retention: Ivy leaves can hold moisture against the tree’s bark, potentially leading to increased moisture retention and a higher risk of fungal or bacterial infections. This can weaken the tree’s overall health.

Bark damage: Over time, ivy vines can cause physical damage to a tree’s bark through abrasion or by allowing moisture to penetrate the bark, increasing the chances of disease or pest infestation.

It’s important to assess the severity of the ivy growth and the overall health of the tree. If the ivy is limited and not causing significant damage, the tree might be able to coexist with it. If the growth is excessive or the tree is already stressed or weakened, it may be beneficial to remove the ivy.

Does my Tree Have a Fungal Disease?

There are several tree fungi common to the Seattle area. Here are some general symptoms to look for:

Leaf Spots: Leaf spots are a common sign of fungal diseases. These may appear as small dark spots on leaves or as larger, blotchy areas. The spots can be various colors, including black, brown, yellow, or gray.

Powdery Mildew: This looks like a white or gray powdery substance on the leaves, stems, and sometimes fruit.

Rusts: Rusts usually appear as red or orange pustules on the undersides of leaves.

Cankers: These are sunken, discolored areas on the trunk or branches of a tree. Cankers may secrete a dark, sticky substance. 

Some common tree fungal diseases in Seattle include:

Apple Scab: This is a common disease of apple and crabapple trees, but it can also infect other species. It is characterized by dark, scaly lesions on the leaves, fruit, and twigs.

Anthracnose: This is a disease that affects many species, including maple, ash, and oak. It causes dark, sunken lesions on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits.

Armillaria Root Rot: This affects many different species of trees and is caused by a group of fungi known as Armillaria. Symptoms include mushrooms at the base of the tree, reduced vigor, and dieback of the branches.

Swiss Needle Cast: This is a disease of Douglas-fir trees and is caused by the fungus Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii. Symptoms include the yellowing and premature dropping of needles.


Does Aerated Compost Tea (ACT) Benefit Trees?

Aerated compost tea is a liquid solution teeming with beneficial microorganisms that are found in a healthy compost. These include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes. When you apply compost tea to the soil around your trees or directly on their leaves, you introduce these beneficial microbes into the soil or leaf ecosystem.

The benefits include:

Improving Soil Structure: The microorganisms in compost tea can help improve soil structure, making it more porous and better able to retain water and nutrients. This can enhance the ability of tree roots to grow and access essential nutrients.

Nutrient Cycling: The microbes help with nutrient cycling, breaking down organic matter and making nutrients more available to plants.

Suppressing Diseases: Some microbes present in compost tea can outcompete or directly inhibit pathogenic microbes, reducing the risk of certain plant diseases.

Promoting Plant Growth: Certain beneficial bacteria and fungi form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, increasing nutrient uptake and promoting growth.

However, it’s important to note that the efficacy of compost tea can depend on several factors, including the quality of the original compost used to brew the tea, the brewing process, and the specific needs of the plant or tree species. Also, while many gardeners and farmers swear by the use of compost tea, research into its effectiveness is ongoing and not all studies agree on the benefits.

Additionally, it’s essential to brew and use compost tea properly to avoid potential issues, such as the growth of harmful bacteria. The brewing process involves aerating the tea to favor the growth of aerobic, rather than anaerobic, microorganisms. These aerobic microbes are generally more beneficial for plants. Using non-chlorinated water and a quality compost as your “starter” can also help ensure the best results. It is best applied immediately or within a few hours of brewing, as beneficial microbe populations can decline rapidly after the aeration is stopped.

Finally, while compost tea can be beneficial, it should be part of a broader strategy of good soil and plant health management. It can complement, but not replace, practices such as using good quality compost and mulch, proper watering, and appropriate plant selection for your local conditions.

On a personal note, we use aerated compost tea (ACT) on our fruit trees and garden in Eastern Washington. We have noticed a difference in the health and growth rate between those trees given ACT and those that were not. I learned of ACT through a local company: KIS Organics, through which we buy our compost. (Tree People is not affilated in any way with selling ACT or this company.) They are a local supplier we like and they have a user friendly set up for those interested on making ACT for small scale gardening. They link to creator Tim Wilson, aka “Microbeman,” whose videos and website are filled with information on all facets of ACT, from the engineering of the aeration device to DIY microscopy. It is Tim Wilson’s microbulator design we use for our ACT. I like the recipe that uses worm castings, alfalfa, and KIS Organics microbe catalyst.

What are a Few Good Books on Pacific Northwest Trees?

“Trees of Seattle: The Complete Tree-Finder’s Guide to the City’s 740 Varieties” by Arthur Lee Jacobson: This is a definitive guide that profiles every kind of tree in Seattle, both native and non-native. The book includes maps, line drawings, and an illustrated glossary.

“The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town” by Arthur Plotnik: While not specific to Seattle, this book offers great insight into urban trees and their role in city environments.

“Wild Plants of Greater Seattle: A Field Guide to Native and Naturalized Plants of the Seattle Area” by Arthur Lee Jacobson: While it’s not specifically about trees, it includes a lot of useful information about Seattle’s plant life.

“Native Trees of Western Washington: A Photographic Guide” by Kevin W. Zobrist: This book includes beautiful photos of native trees and helps the reader identify and appreciate the diversity of Western Washington’s arboreal species.

“Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts” by Douglas Deur: This guide offers an interesting look at the native plants of the Pacific Northwest, including the trees and their potential uses.

“Gifted Earth The Ethnobotany of the Quinault & Neighboring Tribes” by Douglas Deur: This ethnobotanical guidebook is an accessible, comprehensive collaboration. While not specificly focused on our urban trees it is a great resource for plants native to the PNW.

“A Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest” by Mark Turner and Ellen Kuhlmann: While it covers a broader geographical area, it includes many of the trees you’d find in Seattle and provides plenty of helpful illustrations for identification.


What is an ECA (Enviromentally Critical Area)?

According to Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections, Environmentally Critical Areas (ECAs) are areas that are either: environmentally sensitive, and/or pose a risk to public safety if improperly developed. This includes wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, geologically hazardous areas, flood-prone areas, and shoreline areas. There are special rules and regulations for developing on or near these lands, with the goal of minimizing environmental impact and ensuring safety.

Information on the City of Seattle’s ECA code can be found here: