Street Tree Inspection and Maintenance

  1. New "Protected Trees" Ordinance is in effect July 1, 2021
    The "Protected Trees" Ordinance (13.40) replaces the prior “Street Trees” Ordinance (13.35) and “Heritage Trees” Ordinance (13.52). Learn More
The City’s certified arborists will inspect street tree sites if you:

  • Believe the street tree in front of your home needs pruning for clearance or another safety issue
  • Question if the street tree is healthy
  • Want to request that the City plant a tree, for free, in front of your home

Definition of Street Trees (Eligible for City Maintenance): Trees* that are located within the public right of way

“Public right of way” refers to either:

  • The strip of land between the street and the sidewalk, sometimes called the "planter strip" or "tree lawn"
  • The area just behind the sidewalk if a planter strip does not exist
*The City only maintains trees in the public right of way that have been planted by the City. Any tree planted in the public right of way without an approved permit will not receive City maintenance services.

Under the direction of City staff, contract crews perform limited maintenance services on the City’s 23,000 street trees.



Our care for these Street Trees includes:


  • Pruning to maintain structural integrity and to avoid branch or trunk failure
  • Removing dead, dying or hazardous trees
  • Providing pest control
  • Responding to emergency situations (downed street trees from storms, etc.)
  • Planting 200 – 250 street trees per year
While trees located on private property are not maintained by the City, the pruning or removal of any heritage tree is regulated per the Heritage Tree Ordinance. Learn more about Heritage Trees and the Heritage Tree Ordinance and how to apply for a Tree Work Permit for any work to be done privately on either Street or Heritage Trees.

Private Care for Street Trees


On occasion, residents may wish to care for the street tree in front of their home, at the resident's expense. Because San Mateo’s Street Tree Ordinance protects all publicly maintained street trees, a permit is required prior to planting, pruning, or removing a tree. This permit is free. Apply for a permit.

Contact the City's Arborist



The City’s arborist can be reached by email or by phone at (650) 522-7420, Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 3:30pm For emergencies after business hours, call Public Safety Dispatch at (650) 522-7350.