Frequently Asked Questions

  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
How do I report a fallen tree or branch?
Emergency, threatening life or property, call Police Department (650) 522-7700.
During normal working hours 8:00 am to 4:30 pm please call (650) 522-7420,
and after hours (650) 522-7300.

How do I contact the City's arborists?
During normal business hours, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, please call (650) 522-7420, or by sending an email to trees@cityofsanmateo.org.
 
Who is responsible for pruning street trees?
Pruning is based on a maintenance schedule and available resources. If you wish to have a Street Tree pruned before the schedule and/or available resources, you may obtain a free Street Tree permit with specifications from a licensed and certified tree care service that will be pruning the tree. The city does not reimburse for outside services that a homeowner contracts for.

Can a tree be topped?
Tree topping is discouraged by most reputable arborists. While there are exceptions, the city does not encourage tree topping and does not top trees.

Will city personnel prune trees on my private property?
No, it is your responsibility to maintain trees on your property.

Can I remove the street tree in front of my house and replace it with another tree?
You must have a permit before removing a Street Tree. There is no cost for this permit, there may be a deposit required for a replacement of another tree. Typically, only trees that are dead, dying or structurally unsound are approved for removal with a Street Tree permit.

Do I need a permit to cut down my own tree?
Possibly. Protected Trees require a removal permit.

My remodeling plans require the removal of a tree(s). What is the procedure?
A permit is required for the removal of any Street Tree or Heritage Tree. The permit should be coordinated with the building permit and issued prior to any work being done. There are also preservation requirements for Protected Trees near construction areas. Please be sure to have your contractor contact us before beginning any work.