Tree Preservation & Removal

Mukilteo’s beauty is largely attributed to our waterfront, and our massive green spaces. They play a significant role in creating the high quality of life we enjoy.  Trees are also a valuable resource that provide a variety of public benefits to the community such as stormwater retention, improving water quality, stabilizing slopes and creating wildlife habitat.

Tree Trimming:

results_of_topped_tree_2Topping: Do Not Top Trees. Tree topping is the practice of cutting large branches in mature trees into stubs or lateral branches or the entire removal of large branches.  Other names for topping include “stubbing”, “heading”, “tipping”, “hat-racking” and “rounding over”.  Whatever the name, it’s still a bad idea.

According to the International Society of Arboriculture, topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. Yet, despite more than 25 years of literature and seminars explaining its harmful effects, topping remains a common practice.

Tree topping:

  • Causes stress, which makes the tree more vulnerable to insect and disease infestations;
  • Leads to decay;
  • Allows trees to be sunburned which causes cankers, bark splitting and death of some branches;
  • Creates hazards from the newly grown shoots which are prone to breaking, especially during windy conditions;
  • Is expensive because topped trees require frequent high-maintenance pruning practice (as often as annually while untopped trees only require infrequent pruning); and
  • Destroys the natural form of the tree which creates poor aesthetics for the neighborhood.

Thinning: Retaining the natural form of the tree by removing foliage evenly throughout the canopy to create a filtered view through and beyond the foliage. Care must be taken not to remove too much foliage (less than ¼ of the total canopy) in order to avoid sucker growth.

Windowing: A pruning technique that involves selectively removing branches to allow a full view through the tree, similar to looking through a keyhole to a view beyond.

Skirting: A pruning technique where the lower branches of a tree are removed in order to achieve a view looking under the foliage. In order to make sure the tree remains healthy, it is important not to over-do branch removal. No more than 1/3 of the tree’s total height in branches should be removed.

Tree Removal:

If you are seeking permission to remove a tree, please contact the Planning Department at 425-263-8000. A Planner will visit your property to verify that removing the tree is not a violation of city code. This service is free and can typically be scheduled within 2 days. Please call if you are interested in removing a tree.