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Tree Management Redwood City, California
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Tree Preservation
Ordinances &
Permit Application


Tree Management

Objective

Preserve and protect the urban forest, both public and private, for the benefit of all.

Overview

Trees significantly enhance the overall beauty of the environment and raise the quality of life for all who live and work in the city. Two tree protection ordinances were established (for over thirty years), to protect and preserve this natural asset. Proper pruning standards are also encouraged to maximize the health and beauty of the tree and minimize potential problems. A tree takes many years to grow and only minutes to cut down. Removal is the last resort option, when no other reasonable alternative can correct a problem. The Public Works Division strives to plant more trees then are removed each year.

OrdinancesTrees

The “Street Tree Ordinance” protects all city-owned trees - those trees growing within the public right-of-way. Trees growing in the public right-of-way (usually the area between the sidewalk and curb, and sometimes areas between the sidewalk and the home) cannot be planted, pruned, or removed without first securing a permit from the city. No fee is required for this permit.

The second ordinance, Redwood City's “Tree Preservation Ordinance” protects trees on private property.  Although they belong to the property owners, trees have an impact on the quality of life of our entire community. These trees grow in the City's urban forest and contribute as much, if not more, to the quality of life of a neighborhood than city-owned street trees and park trees.  This ordinance governs trees of any species that have grown to a size greater than 12 inches in diameter (38 inches in circumference) - measured at the largest point between six inches and 36 inches above ground.  For trees of this size, a permit is required prior to pruning or removal. No fee is required for this permit.

The City utilizes professional standards and criteria for making decisions on permit applications for both tree removal and pruning. See Redwood City’s Tree Removal Criteria or Redwood City’s Pruning Standards for more information.

Pruning

Tree pruning permits are approved when the proposed work meets the accepted standards of workmanship. City programs follow two industry standards for pruning:

  1. American National Standards Institute A-300 Pruning Standards
  2. International Society of Arboriculture - Best Management Practices for Tree Pruning

Both of these industry standards are supported by scientific research as the best methods to maintain a tree for safety and health. Permit conditions are written for pruning to comply with the accepted industry standards.

Removal

There are several considerations for tree removal approvals. The tree must be:

  1. Dead
  2. Dying
  3. Structurally Unsound
  4. Obstructing a permitted improvement such that it will be killed or become structurally unsound when the improvement is implemented.

The removal criteria are confirmed by a site inspection. Tree removal requests associated with site improvements are reviewed and approved with the appropriate planning, building, or construction permit. The replanting of a minimum of one new tree for each tree removed is a normal condition of a tree removal permit.

 

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