Heritage Tree


In 1995 the Education/Advocacy Committee of PlantAmnesty initiated the Seattle Heritage and Notable Tree Program. Currently Seattle has no other way to identify, celebrate, or protect its special trees. In 1999 the City of Seattle became an official partner of the program, providing staff support and the Heritage and Notable Tree website.


All trees must be within the Seattle City limits. Since PlantAmnesty is a nonprofit organization and not a legislative arm of the City, the Heritage and Notable Tree Program has no legal authority to declare Heritage and Notable Trees without the owner's permission. Therefore all nominations must include the owner's name and contact information.

With owner approval, the nominations are reviewed by the Heritage and Notable Tree Committee and a determination is made by vote of the committee. Nomination forms are available by writing, calling or emailing PlantAmnesty and via the City link. Those wishing to model a program after ours can receive a Heritage and Notable Tree Manual by requesting a written copy.

Legal Protection

Legal protection for Heritage and Notable Trees is voluntary and optional. Most trees on the Heritage and Notable Tree lists are unprotected by City ordinance or conservation easement. PlantAmnesty feels that the formal recognition and educational value of the plaques and listings encourage future preservation of the trees. Future owners of a Heritage and Notable Tree will be given the opportunity to provide trees with legal protection.

Some tree owners choose to put a Conservation Easement on their Heritage and Notable Tree. This is a contract between the tree owner and PlantAmnesty that may give the tree legal protection now and in the future. No one is every forced to keep a high risk tree.

The Program

Whether the tree is protected or not, all Heritage and Notable Trees will be listed on the website, entered in the registry, and a plaque can be purchased and installed by PlantAmnesty. There is an optional engraved stone or no signage may be preferred.

Heritage and Notable Tree Dedications are of three types: Public Dedication, Private Dedication or Private Ceremony. Tree owners receive a Tree Owner's Manual, a framed certificate, and a City Among the Trees booklet.

Annually PlantAmnesty mails a Tree Condition Report to be filled out by the current owner and returned to us. Failure to return the condition report results in a site visit by a PlantAmnesty arborist.


Funding for the Seattle Heritage and Notable Tree program was originally supplied by a grant from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service. Additional funding has been provided from time to time by various departments of the City of Seattle. In-kind volunteer services are provided by PlantAmnesty members of the Heritage and Notable Tree Committee and PlantAmnesty arborists.

At this time no dedicated funding for this program exists. Tree owners are asked to contribute as they are able. Grant applications are written, a corporate sponsor would be great, or dedicated funds from the City of Seattle may prove to be the solution to on-going funding needs.

More Information

PlantAmnesty has more information on the Heritage and Notable Trees and the Heritage and Notable Tree Program including photos, plaque wording, a slideshow about the program, and media coverage. For more information contact the Heritage and Notable Tree Committee Chair by writing, phoning or contacting us at PlantAmnesty.

Check out our cooperative program between the City of Seattle and PlantAmnesty