Tree Lighting

Because attaching decorative lighting – or any other foreign item – to street trees is prohibited by city code without written permission from Parks and Recreation, the Denver City Forester’s Office has produced guide to illustrate acceptable installation methods and procedures. Those information is intended to help homeowners and property managersunderstand the types of permits that will be issued for lights.


Permits must be requested prior to installation. Length of permit will correspond to installation technique.

1. Installation by wrapping trunks and/or branches. A September through March permit will be issued for this installation technique. By March 15th of each year, all attached items must be removed.
2. Non-wrapped installation techniques. A one-year permit will be issued for this installation technique. Reapplication upon permit’s expiration is required.
     a. Looped attachments. This installation technique involves installing a loop of a wide, non-constricting material through which the lights pass. The loop must have a minimum of 1” between the portion of the loop holding the wire and the tree part to which it is
attached. Forestry must approve loop material.
     b. Loosely draped strands. Strands must be sufficiently loose to allow tree canopy and all tree parts to grow unrestricted. Draped portions of strands must be at least 13’6” above the traveled portion of the right-of-way and at least 8’ above all other portions of the right-of-way.

Electrical supply cords and other affiliated accessories must be attached in a similar manner. Any lights or other materials in trees without a permit, either installed without a permit or left in the tree following the expiration of a permit, shall be ordered removed. No permit will be issued for installation/recertification of lights or other attachments for more than three consecutive years without resetting lights. Under all circumstances, installation of lighting shall be considered temporary, and installation techniques shall not alter the tree’s natural growth or breach the tree’s cambium layer in any way.

If you currently have lights installed on street trees, you must either remove the lights or contact Denver Forestry for an inspection. If installation techniques are appropriate, a permit will be issued for lights when inspections are requested. City Forester’s notices to remove lights, wires, or other items attached to trees have been issued by Forestry for years to help protect the city’s valuable street tree resource. Improperly installed lights or other items are detrimental to tree growth and result in girdling and tree decline. 

To request a permit or an inspection, call Denver Forestry at 720-913-0651 or visit and click on the link to “request your tree work permit.”

To read more please download: Installing Decorative Lighting on Street Trees A How-To Guide


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