Trees significantly enhance the overall beauty of the environment and raise the quality of life for all who live and work in the city. Trees can add value to your home, help cool your home and neighborhood, break the cold winds to lower your heating costs, and provide food for wildlife. A tree takes many years to grow and only minutes to cut down. Removal is the last resort option, when no other reasonable alternative can correct a problem.
Street Tree Maintenance
Redwood City's “Street Tree Ordinance” protects all city-owned trees - those trees growing within the public right-of-way. Trees growing in the public right-of-way (usually the area between the sidewalk and curb, and sometimes areas between the sidewalk and the home) cannot be planted, pruned, or removed without first securing a permit from the city. No fee is required for this permit.
Redwood City's “Tree Preservation Ordinance” protects trees on private property. Although they belong to the property owners, trees have an impact on the quality of life of our entire community. These trees grow in the City's urban forest and contribute as much, if not more, to the quality of life of a neighborhood than city-owned street trees and park trees. This ordinance governs trees of any species that have grown to a size greater than 12 inches in diameter (38 inches in circumference) - measured at the largest point between six inches and 36 inches above ground. For trees of this size, a permit is required prior to pruning or removal. No fee is required for this permit.
The City utilizes professional standards and criteria for making decisions on permit applications for both tree removal and pruning.
Tree pruning permits are approved when the proposed work meets the accepted standards of workmanship. City programs follow two industry standards for pruning:
- American National Standards Institute A-300 Pruning Standards
- International Society of Arboriculture - Best Management Practices for Tree Pruning
Both of these industry standards are supported by scientific research as the best methods to maintain a tree for safety and health. Permit conditions are written for pruning to comply with the accepted industry standards.
There are several considerations for tree removal approvals. The tree must be:
- Structurally Unsound
- Obstructing a permitted improvement such that it will be killed or become structurally unsound when the improvement is implemented.
The removal criteria are confirmed by a site inspection. Tree removal requests associated with site improvements are reviewed and approved with the appropriate planning, building, or construction permit. The replanting of a minimum of one new tree for each tree removed is a normal condition of a tree removal permit.