The tree that fell onto a car in Seward Park in a windstorm last month was rotten.
Eric Medalle, 42, a father of two, was killed almost instantly. His toddler was in the back seat but wasn't badly injured.
But the superintendent of the city parks department says it's unlikely the city could have known that about the tree.
Superintendent Jesus Aguirre says there are eight arborists in the department – and they are responsible for roughly 200,000 trees on city property.
Aguirre says they check on trees that are reported as sick or hazardous but don't have the capacity to inspect every tree.
"Our role right now is really focused on public safety and making sure that if there are trees that are in danger of harming property or people we address those," he said. "But we don't believe at this point that there is anything we could have done in advance to prevent the tree from falling."
Seattle parks officials are drafting a proposal to close some parks when there's extreme weather.
The Seattle Times reports an independent arborist said the tree had almost completely rotted out at the base. Earlier, a parks employee said as far as he knew that tree was in good condition.
Aguirre now clarifies that his department could not have known that.
Parks staff are working on an investigation.