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Keep Vegetation Near Your Home Trimmed for Safety

Auburn is a Tree City USA city. We value our urban forest and are committed to caring for and managing our public trees. Sometimes though, we forget as our trees and other vegetation mature that their growth can present problems when they are planted near our streets and walkways. If not properly cared for, growth that encroaches upon or overhangs the sidewalk and street curbs presents a constraint that impacts the efficient and safe use of our streets and sidewalks for pedestrians, school buses, street sweepers, and solid waste collection. 

In an urban environment it is essential that we maintain sufficient clearance of vegetation adjacent to the public right of way to assure that public safety is secured to the benefit of all. Section 12.36.050 of the Auburn City Code regulates the growth of vegetation adjacent to streets within the city.  The code applies to all streets regardless of their public or private status and the code requires that the property owner prevent vegetation on property from becoming a nuisance that affects the safe public use of the street and sidewalk.

Generally,  if vegetation obscures traffic signs or overhangs the sidewalk so that there is less than 7 feet of vertical  clearance, that vegetation needs to be trimmed back by the homeowner or property owner. For private streets, the Homeowners Association is typically the responsible party for accomplishing this work. Unless there is an emergency need, City crews do not accomplish this task on private streets.

Officials recommend trimming trees and vegetation in the autumn season as most plants go into a dormant state as winter nears and the leaves on trees have fallen to make trimming and disposal easier. Homeowners should pay particular attention to trees and vegetation after a wind storm, snow storm or heavy rain event.

If your property is adjacent to a public streets, please be aware that the City’s vegetation crews will trim any vegetation back that overhangs public sidewalks and street curbs to the heights required by City code. If City crews trim your trees in the interest of public safety,  they will not harm the tree, but the end result may not be  aesthetically appealing to the homeowner.

Property owners who would rather trim their own trees should do so before the City’s crews arrive at your address. For more information on proper tree trimming and pruning, visit The Arbor Day Foundation website. We thank you for  your continued help and cooperation to keep everyone safe!

For more information on vegetation control and the Auburn City Code requirements, call 253-931-3048.

Tree Blocking Sign
Blocking signs or signals
Shrub on Sidewalk
Impeding sidewalk passage
Tree blocking street sweeper
Blocking sweepers or other vehicles
Tree blocking pedestrian
Interfering with pedestrians