Street Tree Planting Program

The City of San Mateo would love to plant a tree in the right of way in front of your home. These street trees are planted at no cost to San Mateo residents.

Free Street Tree Planting Program 

The street tree planting season begins in November and ends in March. To request a free street tree, please contact the San Mateo Parks and Recreation Department either by phone or email:

Please include your name, address and preferred contact info with your request.

Tree planting is a complimentary service offered by the City. In exchange, residents are expected to water their new trees weekly throughout the first two growing seasons.

Tree planting is funded by in-lieu fees collected during the permitting of large construction projects.

Caring for a Newly Planted Street Tree

The City requests that you take responsibility for watering your tree as needed. Here are a few guidelines to follow for proper care and maintenance of your new tree:

  • Do not change the staking; tight staking does not let the tree grow strong.
  • Keep the tree well free of weeds and other plants; they will take water and nutrients away from the tree.
  • Fill the tree well with water at least once per week (more often during hot, dry or windy periods, and immediately should the leaves start to curl or brown); deep watering will promote downward growth of roots and help prevent potential sidewalk damage.
  • Keep fertilizer and weed killer at least five to ten feet away from the tree. If a tree needs to be re-staked please call the City of San Mateo at 650-522-7420. We will remove the stakes after two to three growing seasons, when the tree is sufficiently rooted.

Benefits of Trees 

Trees provide many benefits to our community including:

  • Providing wind and sun protection, thereby lowering heating and cooling bills
  • Providing privacy as well as natural habitats for song birds
  • Reducing stress: in fact, having trees close by has been proven to aid in recovery after surgery
  • Providing over $1.4 Million in net benefits to our City (City of San Mateo Urban Forest Resource Analysis, 2011)

For all of these reasons, the City makes it a priority to enhance our urban forest through annual tree planting efforts.

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