Tree Maintenance

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Street Tree Maintenance Eligibility & Permits

Street Tree Permit Application


There are two main classifications of tree ownership: city-owned trees and private trees. City-owned trees grow in the public right-of-way. Typically, this refers to the area between the sidewalk and curb in residential areas. A tree permit from the city must be secured before pruning or removal may be done on city-owned trees.

Similarly for private trees (trees on private property), a permit must be obtained before pruning or removal. By Redwood City's "Tree Preservation Ordinance," this applies to trees larger than 12 inches in diameter, measured at the thickest point between six and 36 inches above the ground. 

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:

  1. American National Standards Institute A-300 Pruning Standards
  2. 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 to comply with the accepted industry standards.


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. There are several considerations for tree removal approvals. The tree must be at least one of the following:

  1. Dead
  2. Dying
  3. Structurally Unsound
  4. 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. A normal condition of a tree removal permit is replanting at least one new tree for each tree removed.