Maryland Roadside Tree Law

Trees along a snow covered road

Passed in 1914, this Law and its regulations were developed to protect our roadside trees by ensuring their proper care and protection and to ensure their compatibility with an efficient and dependable public utility system.

Millions of trees grow along the more than 30,000 miles of improved roads in Maryland. The trees growing along our roadways and in our communities are an important urban and community resource. They provide aesthetic, environmental, economic, and social benefits.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service protects trees along our public road rights-of way through enforcement of the Roadside Tree Law.

Before Trimming or Removing a Roadside Tree

Before a roadside tree is trimmed or cared for in any way, a Tree Care Permit must be obtained from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service. A roadside tree is any tree that grows all or in part within a public road right-of-way. A permit is also needed to plant a tree within the public road right-of-way.

Any work (including the removal of a tree having a permit) performed on a street tree must be done by a Licensed Tree Care Expert.

When tree care is performed on a roadside tree without a permit, a fine may be assessed or more severe actions taken by the Department of Natural Resources.

Resources available:

"Roadside tree care expert" means an individual representing a governmental agency who: a) Is designated to supervise that government's roadside tree planting and maintenance operations; b) Has passed the Forest Service's examination for Roadside Tree Care Experts; and c) Has been approved by the Forest Service as qualified to supervise that government's tree care program.

"Tree care" means: a) Removal of a roadside tree; b) Planting or maintenance, or both, of a roadside tree; c) Application of pesticide to a roadside tree; or Treatment that may affect the health or growth of a roadside tree.

Study classes and exam dates contact information:

(Only for government employees)​

Contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service office where you mailed the permit application for the status of permits and permit questions.

Contact Person:

Dan Coy​
Program Manager, Urban & Community Forestry
(410) 260-6429