No Permit Required to Remove Holly and Other Invasive Trees

Thanks to a recent revision in Kirkland’s code, you don’t need a permit to cut down English holly and other invasive trees. *
Holly is one of the invasive plants that are wreaking havoc in our parks and urban forests. It forms dense thickets that suppress germination and growth of native tree and shrub species. In recent inventories of Seattle’s public forests and St Edward State Park, holly was more common in the understory than native conifers. This means that if nothing is done, holly could replace our beloved cedar and fir trees.
Holly berries are toxic to humans but loved by birds, who disperse them into forests.
If you have holly in your yard, please consider removing it – for the sake of our native trees!
How to Remove Holly

·         Pull or dig small plants
·         For larger trees, if grinding out the stump is not possible:
o        Cut holly at the base and continue to cut sprouts until the stump eventually dies (this can take a while)
o        Coat the freshly cut stump with undiluted Roundup or a stump killer. Cut sprouts and paint the cut ends as well. This article explains how. The chemicals do not get into the soil or kill surrounding vegetation.
For more information, contact the Green Kirkland Program at
Kirkland Zoning Code Amendment - CAM13-02129
95.52 Prohibited Vegetation
Plants listed as prohibited in the Kirkland Plant List shall not be planted in the City or required to be retained.
Kirkland Prohibited Plant List
The following plants are prohibited to plant on private property in Kirkland, and are recommended for removal:
-         Evergreen/Himalayan blackberry
-         English holly
-         Invasive knotweeds
-         Bindweed or morning glory
-         Bird cherry
-         Herb Robert
-         English/Atlantic ivy
-         Poison hemlock
-         Reed canarygrass
-         Scotch broom
-         Spurge laurel
-         Yellow archangel
The following plants, while not prohibited, are discouraged to be planted on private property in Kirkland:
-         Butterfly bush
-         European mountain ash
-         English laurel
-         Sycamore maple
-         Common hawthorn 

* The removal of prohibited plant species (including significant trees) is allowed without obtaining a permit except in sensitive areas such as wetlands, stream buffers, or landslide areas. Please contact the Planning Department for more information about tree removal permits and sensitive areas.