The Tree Section of the St. Louis Forestry Division is responsible for more than 80,000 street trees and another 25,000 trees in city parks. The staff plants, prunes and removes street and parks trees and enforces the City Codes that regulate and protect trees.
Section 12 of the City's Tree Ordinance (Ordinance 68607) requires the issuance of a Permit to Maintain to anyone that desires to "directly or indirectly perform maintenance, including but not limited to pruning, spraying or removal, on any City Tree." This includes chemical treatment of ash trees to prevent infestation of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). There is no permit fee for a permit to chemically treat an ash tree, but there are fees associated with the removal of an ash tree. Tree removal permit fees will be assessed in accordance with Section 14 of the City's Tree Ordinance (Ordinance 68607).
Permits will only be issued to a commercial tree service that has at least one ISA Certified Arborist on staff and is current with all licenses required by local, state, and federal agencies. This includes a business license with the City of St. Louis.
There are four categories of permit types:
- Chemical treatment
All permits expire 60 days after their issuance.
Permits for treatments must be renewed for future treatments.
- Determine the type of permit you need and indicate the type of work to be performed: Planting, Removal, Pruning, Treatment (ash).
- The application can be submitted by the property owner, or the contractor, but it must contain all requested information or the permit may be denied.
- Provide the address and specific location of the tree. For corner lots indicate if the tree is in front or on the side. For example, 2140 Charles Avenue, on Davis St.
- Provide the company name, address, email address, etc. that will perform the work.
- Provide a current ISA Certified Arborist number for the individual(s) that will prescribe and perform the work
- Indicate the species and size of tree to be planted. Species currently listed on our approved street tree list are more likely to be approved, though approval may be granted for species not on the list. Tree species native to the region are preferred. The site will inspected prior to approval and specific location for planting will be identified by the City's Urban Forester.
- Indicate the species and diameter of tree requested for removal. If unknown, mark UNK. The site will inspected prior to approval by the City's Urban Forester and approval will be granted for trees that are considered high risk, or for other reasons as determined by the Commissioner of Forestry. If removal is not warranted for reasons of high risk, but is related to construction or other reasons, a fee may be required to cover the cost of replacing the removed tree in another location.
- Indicate the species and size of tree to be pruned. If unknown, mark UNK. The site will inspected prior to approval by the City's Urban Forester and approval will be granted for trees that are considered high risk, or for other reasons as determined by the Commissioner of Forestry.
For Treatment (ash trees)
- Indicate the species and diameter of tree requested for treatment. If unknown, mark UNK. The site will inspected prior to approval by the City's Urban Forester and approval will be granted for trees that are considered healthy enough to warrant treatment, or for other reasons as determined by the Commissioner of Forestry.
- Provide the current Missouri Department of Agriculture License number of the Certified Applicator that prescribed the chemical treatment and the Technician License number of the individual (if applicable) that will perform the work.
- Provide the name of the chemical to be used and the application rate and method
- Provide a date that the work will be performed by
- Verify that all chemical applications will be made according to the Missouri Pesticide Use Act and rules promulgated by the authority of the Missouri Pesticide Use Act
There are no fees to obtain a tree permit unless removal of healthy trees is requested. These fees are used to offset the cost to plant a tree to replace the tree to be lost and are consistent with the current costs for the City to plant a replacement tree.
What to Expect
After submitting your application online:
- You will receive an application ID number as well as a confirmation email. Inspections will occur within 5-7 business days and a permit issuance or denial will be emailed after inspection.
- An urban forester with the Forestry Division will inspect the tree to determine the appropriateness of the request.
- In the case of a request to chemically treat an ash tree, the tree must be in good or better condition with no more than 20% of the canopy exhibiting dieback from borer infestation.
- If dieback already exists, the Forestry Division may require that you also prune the dead limbs at the time of chemical treatment.
- If an ash tree is not a good candidate for chemical treatment and/or poses significant risk, the permit application for chemical treatment will be denied.
- A response to the application request will be emailed, or mailed via USPS, with instructions on how to proceed. Some permits will be granted as requested, others will be granted with amendments, and some will be denied. Your permit number, once the permit is approved, will be the same as your application ID number.
- Once the permit is received, you must complete the work, and respond back to the Forestry Division with the completion date of the work requested. You can respond online with your original application ID number that will appear on your permit. Your response allows us to keep track of exactly which trees have been treated. This is vital information as we battle this exotic pest. Failure to respond with the completion date may result in denial of future permit applications by the applicant at this or any address within the City.
- For ash injections, contractors must advise their client that the chemical injections are only effective for a limited time. Some of the approved products must be re- applied every year, and some every other year. A single application will not provide protection for the duration of the tree's serviceable life.
- After the work is completed, and you respond to Forestry Division, information about the work performed will be recorded and the tree will be monitored. If the tree declines and becomes a high risk, the Forestry Division may elect to remove the tree. This removal may occur without notice to the permit holder.