Tree Permits

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Tree Preservation Ordinance & Permit Application Resources

Latest Updates

Two tree ordinances have been enacted to protect and preserve Redwood City’s urban forest.

  1. A Street Tree Ordinance protects all street trees growing on public property adjacent to roadways throughout the city.
  2. A Tree Preservation Ordinance protects all trees growing on private property with trunk sizes that exceed 38 inches in circumference (twelve inches in diameter) measured between six inches and 36 inches above ground.

Tree Maintenance & Removal 

Anyone who wishes to perform any act upon a tree protected by these ordinances or plant a tree in the public right-of-way, must first apply for and receive a permit for said activity as described in Chapters 29 and 35 of the Municipal Code.

Chapter 29, Article VI - Planting and Care of Trees and Other Vegetation on Public Streets, describes:    

  • The various regulations regarding planting, maintaining and removing trees
  • City staff’s roles and responsibilities
  • Tree prohibitions
  • Nuisance abatement policies and regulations
  • Appeal requirements
Chapter 35 - Tree Preservation, describes:
  • Protected trees
  • Permit requirements and related considerations
  • Emergency allowances
  • Tree regulations for subdivisions
  • Restoration policies for damaged/destroyed trees
  • Appeal requirements

Ordinance Enforcement

Violation of this ordinance is subject to penalties. The fine for illegally pruning a tree is $500 per tree. The fine for illegal removal or destruction of a tree is $500 per tree, plus requires planting a replacement tree (as designated by city staff), equaling the appraised value of the original tree on the property.  The fine for failure to comply with a condition of the permit is $500 plus any mitigation costs towards compensating for the value loss of the tree.  An ordinance violation could also be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. The penalty for a misdemeanor is up to a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail.

There is no fee for the permits at this time. Permits are normally processed within ten working days. Thank you in advance for your cooperation towards keeping Redwood City's privately owned urban forest safe and healthy.


Charlie Drechsler, City Arborist
(650) 780-7295