Tree Planting

Planting a Tree in the Public Right of Way/Sidewalk

Planting a Tree in the Public Right of Way

Planting a tree in the Public Right of Way generally means planting a tree in a sidewalk pit in front of your home, business, or other property owned by you.  In the City of Pittsburgh, trees are currently being planted through the TreeVitalize program, which is state funded.  There is not currently a budget for planting in the city otherwise.  


Apply for Trees Through TreeVitalize:

TreeVitalize can plant ten or more trees in your community at a time, with volunteers from the community or using paid contractors.  

To apply for trees, email or call 412-586-2396 and let them know you are interested and want to know more about the process.

Then get the application, some tree request forms, and gather your neighbors!  You will need more than ten tree request forms filled out from property owners who want trees in front of their property.


Request a Tree to be Planted:

Are you interested in planting a street tree in front of your property, but don't want to apply for trees through TreeVitalize?  Request a tree, and it may be added to an application if one is being sent in for your area.

The City of Pittsburgh’s Forestry Division maintains a request file for citizens who request that the City plant a tree in the right of way adjacent to their property. Forestry staff provides a site analysis to ensure that a tree can be safely planted and will survive in that location. When planting funds are available, Forestry Division managers contract planting of new trees.

The form to request a tree can be found on this website


Plant aTree In the Right of Way Yourself:

Want to plant a tree in front of your property and are willing to pay for it yourself?  To ensure the right tree is planted for your site, the forester will still need to recommend a species that is best:

If you are interested in paying for the planting of the tree yourself, you may get a Tree Planting Permit from the City of Pittsburgh to do just that. As mentioned above, the Forestry Division will provide a site analysis to ensure a tree can be safely planted and will survive in that location.

A tree planting permit request form can be found here.

Resource Type: 

City Trees & Municipal Code

The City of Pittsburgh has municipal code that protects trees, allows for the creation of the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission and requires developers to plant trees as part of new construction. 

A complete list City codes can be found here (

Chapter 483 deals with the care and maintenance of public trees. Did you know that it is against the law to post signs /posters to trees? Or did you know that as a street tree grows, property owners are required to increase the permeable area around the base of the tree? This chapter covers these basics as well as the maintenance and removal responsibilities of DPW.

an example of a protected tree

Chapter 485 is tilted Protection. This chapter outlines protection measures of public owned trees. The City may seek compensation from anyone who damages a public tree. Protections outlined in this chapter include from construction damage, excavation, gas leaks, even damage to trees by pets. Pets can cause lot of damage to trees: pet owners may tie their pet to a tree and cause bark and trunk damage; pets may climb trees, snapping branches; and pet waste does a great deal of damage to the soil structure/function as well as causes direct damage to the trees truck and roots. 

Chapter 918 deals with developments and landscaping requirements. For off street parking 1 tree for every 5 parking spaces must be planted. And for new buildings, a street tree must be planted every 30 feet. This chapter outlines many other City codes that require dumpsters to be screened to how many square feet of landscaping must be included around parking lots. 

The City of Pittsburgh does have a progressive code when it comes to trees. Trees are a vitally important resource in our City and must be protected, preserved and re-planted as our City grows.  

Resource Type: 

Tree Pittsburgh • 5401 Butler Street • 2nd Floor • Pittsburgh, PA 15201
(412) 781-TREE (8733) •

Content © 2012-2017 Tree Pittsburgh

Website design by Hylid