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 (i.e. Street Trees)
  • 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 more than 30% of the root system of a Heritage Tree
  • Removing or pruning any Street Tree

The instructions below will guide you through the permit process, starting with filling out a Tree Work Application.

Permit Application Process


Please read these instructions carefully to avoid any improper use and/or fines:

Before filling out the application, it is important to identify


what type of tree(s) you are working with.

Follow These Steps Carefully

Step 1:



Once you have determined the type of tree(s) (e.g. Heritage Tree, Street Tree or both), download and fill out the Tree Work Application.


Step 2:



Submit the application to the Parks Department by email, mail or in-person drop-off:

Step 3:



The Managing Arborist will inspect the applicant's site to confirm if the permit request can be granted.


Step 4:



All property owners and renters whose properties surround the applicant's property will be notified in writing of the arborist’s decision to grant a permit and will have ten days to appeal.


Step 5:



After ten days (or when any appeals are resolved) the property owner can pick up the permit at the Parks and Recreation counter at 2001 Pacific Blvd

  • Street Tree permitting is free.
  • Permits for tree work on privately owned Heritage Trees cost $75.00. This fee helps offset staff costs associated with permit issuance.
  • Permits for removal of privately owned Heritage Trees require an additional refundable tree-replacement deposit of $425, due at the time of permit issuance.

The permit process takes several weeks so you must plan ahead.


Find more answers to your permit and heritage tree questions in our
Heritage Tree FAQ’s