Heritage Tree and Street Tree Permits

The City of San Mateo regulates specific tree work including:

  • All work performed on trees located in the public right of way (i.e. Street Trees)
  • The removal and pruning of Heritage Trees on private property
It is important to know if your planned tree work will require a Tree Work Permit from the Department of Parks & Recreation. It is unlawful to perform the following types of tree work without a City-issued permit:
  • Removal of a Heritage Tree
  • Pruning more than 25% of the crown or existing foliage of a Heritage Tree
  • Removal of more than 30% of the root system of a Heritage Tree
  • Removing or pruning any Street Tree

The instructions below will guide you through the permit process, starting with filling out a Tree Work Application.

Permit Application Process

Please read these instructions carefully to avoid any improper use and/or fines:

Before filling out the application, it is important to identify

what type of tree(s) you are working with.

Follow These Steps Carefully

Step 1:

Once you have determined the type of tree(s) (e.g. Heritage Tree, Street Tree or both), download and fill out the Tree Work Application.

Step 2:

Submit the application to the Parks Department by email, mail or in-person drop-off:

Step 3:

The Managing Arborist will inspect the applicant's site to confirm if the permit request can be granted.

Step 4:

All property owners and renters whose properties surround the applicant's property will be notified in writing of the arborist’s decision to grant a permit and will have ten days to appeal.

Step 5:

After ten days (or when any appeals are resolved) the property owner can pick up the permit at the Parks and Recreation counter at 2001 Pacific Blvd.

  • Street Tree permitting is free.
  • Permits for private tree work on Street Trees or Heritage Trees require a payment of $75.00 for the cost of the permit.
  • If your intended work requires tree removal, then an additional refundable tree-replacement deposit of $425.00 will also be due at the time of permit issuance.
  • See how to plant a free street tree

The permit process takes several weeks so you must plan ahead.

Find more answers to your permit and heritage tree questions in our
Heritage Tree FAQ’s