Tree Care

Trees are very resilient. Still, they do require periodic maintenance and protection to ensure they reach their full potential. This section covers the principle ways in which you can help care for the trees around your home.


Protecting onsite trees is a vital component of any construction project. Dependent on the scope and location of the project, the San Mateo Planning or Building Department may required you to submit a Tree Protection Plan prepared by a certified arborist for trees which could be affected by construction. If the plan is sufficient to prevent harm to protected trees (as outlined in Section 13.52.025 S.M.M.C) it shall be approved and monitored through completion of the project.


Newly planted trees require a deep watering at least weekly during the growing season. If a new tree has been planted in front of your home, fill the tree well with water (15 gallons) at least once per week (more often during hot, dry or windy periods, and immediately should the leaves start to curl or brown) for the first few growing seasons. This will ensure that the tree grows strong and healthy. Proper watering will also allow the tree to develop good form and ensure that the roots stay down in the soil where they belong.

No Topping!

Plant scientists and arborists agree that tree topping is a harmful practice. Topping often exacerbates the problems it is intended to resolve. Learn more about topping and why you should avoid it

Sewer Lateral Issues

A blocked-up sewer system can be tough to diagnose since there are many possible causes. One potential culprit a tree root intrusion in your sewer lateral. But stop! Before you blame your tree, it is important to get to the “root” of the problem, which is likely not the fault of the tree roots, but a leaky sewer lateral. Read more about sewer issues and why you shouldn't blame the tree.