NYC Tree Guard Permits

Tree guards in New York City are an iconic part of our beautiful urban streetscape. Walk along any street and you will undoubtedly see these practical black little metal fences surrounding the base of street trees. In New York, a tree guard permit is required before installing any new tree guard. The purpose of street tree guard permits is so Parks knows exactly who is working around urban trees throughout the City. In addition, the tree fence permit requirements help to prolong the life of the urban tree, ensure pedestrians don’t get hurt and help protect building and home owners from lawsuits.

To obtain NYC tree guard permits, tree guards must:

  • Stand at a minimum of 18 to a maximum of 24 inches tall to the top rail. Tree grates are not allowed.
  • Open around the perimeter. Nothing solid is allowed around the base of the tree guard. This includes solid metal lips around the perimeter of the tree guard, plastic liners, bricks or concrete walls.
  • Have no sharp points
  • Be fastened into the soil with stakes and not concrete
  • Be anchored inside the bed not to the sidewalk
  • Surround the perimeter of the tree bed. Granite pavers are permitted but must leave enough space so tree can grow for years to come.
  • Have an approved NYC tree guard permit before being installed
  • NYC Parks & Recreation Department also recommends that tree guards are:
    • Made of metal (wrought iron, steel or aluminum)
    • Set back at least 12 inches from the curb.
    • Three sided


The following are the tree guards styles approved by the Parks Department in New York City.  For design details for each of these guards,  click the corresponding links below.