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 any roots within 6 times the trunk diameter of a Heritage Tree
  • Removing or pruning any roots or foliage of any Street Tree

The instructions below will guide you through the permit process. Please begin by filling out a Tree Work Application.

Permit Application Process

Before filling out the application, it is important to identify what type of tree(s) you are working with.

Permit Application Instructions
Please read the following instructions carefully to avoid any improper use and/or fines:

Step 1:
Step 2:
Submit the application to the Parks Department by email, mail, or 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 tree work on privately owned Heritage Trees cost $100.00. This fee helps offset staff costs associated with permit issuance.
  • Permits for removal of privately owned Heritage Trees require an additional refundable tree-replant deposit of $483-$740, due at the time of permit issuance.
The permit process takes several weeks so you must plan ahead.