Heritage Tree and Street Tree Permits

The City of San Mateo regulates specific tree work including all work performed on trees located in the public right of way (Street Trees) and the removal and pruning of Heritage Trees on private property.

It is important to know if your planned tree work will require a Tree Work Permit from the Department of Parks & Recreation. It is unlawful to perform the following types of tree work without a City-issued permit:

  • Removal of a Heritage Tree
  • Pruning more than 25% of the crown or existing foliage of a Heritage Tree
  • Removal of any roots within 6 times the trunk diameter of a Heritage Tree
  • Removing or pruning any roots or foliage of any Street Tree

The instructions below will guide you through the permit process. Before filling out an application, it is important to identify what type of tree(s) you are working with.

Before filling out the application, it is important to identify what type of tree(s) you are working with.

Permit Application Process
Please read the following instructions carefully to avoid any improper use and/or fines:

Step 1: Submit a Tree Work Application
  • Once you have determined the type of tree(s) you will be working on, (e.g. Heritage Tree, Street Tree or both), fill out a Tree Work Application. Submitting photos with the application will help expedite the process.  
  • If you are requesting a pruning permit, you must submit pruning specifications with the application. See our Tree Pruning Specification Guidelines for more information.  
  • Submit the application to the Parks Department any of these ways:
        Mail/Drop Off: City of San Mateo – Trees Division
                2001 Pacific Blvd., San Mateo, CA 94403
Step 2: Review
  • The Managing Arborist will inspect the applicant's site to confirm if the permit request can be granted.
  • If further information is needed, you will be notified in writing. Your application will remain on-hold until the information requested is provided.  
  • If the application is denied, you will be notified in writing.
Step 3: Notification Letters
Pruning Applications: 
  • If your pruning application is approved, your permit will be ready for issuance. Abutting properties need not be notified.
Removal Applications:
  • If your removal application is approved, all property owners and occupants abutting the applicant's property will be notified by the City in writing of the proposed removal. There will be a ten-day waiting period to allow for appeals. 
  • If an appeal is received, you will be notified by the Managing Arborist.
  • If an appeal is not received during the ten-day waiting period, you will receive an email alerting you that your permit is ready for issuance.
Step 4: Permit Issued
  • You will receive an email with payment instructions.
  • Fees include: 
    • $100.00 non-refundable application fee for all permits for privately owned trees. There is no application fee for Street Tree permits. 
    • $483.00 - $740.00 refundable tree replant deposit for all removal permits
  • Once payment is received, the permit will be emailed to the applicant within 1-2 business days.
The permit process takes several weeks so you must plan ahead!

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