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Tree Management Redwood City, California
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Best Management Practices


Tree Preservation
Ordinances &
Permit Application

Tree Management Practices, Policies and Procedures

  • Modify the available public right-of-way to allow as great an area for tree growth as possible. Design the right-of-way around the space needs of the tree.
    The optimum minimum width between the sidewalk and the curb is 6 feet. To meet this space target, the following adjustments may be implemented:
    • The sidewalk may be narrowed to 4 feet.
    • The sidewalk may be curved to the back edge of the right-of-way.
    • Redwood City may receive an easement to locate the public sidewalk on private property.
    • The sidewalk may be located next to the curb and the tree planted on the house-side of the sidewalk.
  • Plant trees in every vacant tree-planting site to have a fully stocked urban forest.
    The strategy is to plant more trees than are removed until all the sites are filled, and then plant as many trees each year as are removed.
  • Plant larger scale shade-tree varieties.
    With a goal of providing a significant canopy over the street, only large shade trees will be chosen. Staff is designating one tree for each block of a street. In cases where space constraints or obstacles exist, a second smaller variety of tree may also be designated for that part of the street.

    Redwood City’s tree-planting programs offer designated street trees in 15-gallon containers. These trees are planted in the public right-of-way at no cost to the property owner. Property owners may upgrade to a larger tree in a 24-inch box, by paying the difference in price.
  • Determine which tree will be designated for a particular block when scheduling the planting of new trees.
    Currently, there are a limited number of desirable street tree species available and new varieties are continually being developed. When residents or businesses request street trees, staff will determine the designated tree for that block from the available tree species at that time. This policy provides the maximum flexibility to choose the best tree species and provide the maximum diversity of Redwood City’s tree population.
  • Provide for uniformity of species along a street.
    Trees will be selected, when possible, to match the existing character and shape of the most common existing tree on the street. In some areas, there is not a dominant existing tree and staff will select the best tree for the site conditions.
  • Provide diversity in the overall street tree inventory.
    A diverse urban forest population is desirable to minimize the catastrophic affects of tree diseases. Since tree diseases often affect one tree species but not others, maintaining diversity diminishes the potential of wider spread damage. The target range for the population of any one species is between 5% and 15% of the total tree population.

    The goals of uniformity and diversity may seem contradictory. Redwood City balances these objectives by maintaining uniformity on individual streets and keeping a diverse number of designated street trees.
  • Properly maintain trees to current industry standards
    City trees are maintained using two industry standards:
    • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A-300 Pruning Standard
    • International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Best Management Practices for Tree Pruning.
      These standards are also the foundation for Redwood City ‘s permit conditions and requirements for privately owned trees.
  • Tree removal is the last option.
    Trees take a long time to develop. They are not easily replaced in terms of size or canopy spread. Therefore, trees are not removed unless they are found to be dead, dying, structurally unsound, or if some reasonable work is being performed that will cause the trees to die or become structurally unsound. Usually mitigating measures can be applied to avoid the removal of healthy trees.
  • Administer the Tree Preservation Ordinance governing trees on private property.
    The Tree Preservation Ordinance requires a permit for the pruning or removal of any tree within the size limit protected by the ordinance. Each tree is inspected to verify the request of the permit applicant.

    The ordinance also requires the protection of trees during construction and development. Public Works is working with Community Development Services to implement procedures for ensuring that trees on private property are protected during construction, remodeling, and/or development.
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