Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report a fallen tree or branch?

  • For emergencies, threatening life or property, call 9-11 or the Police Department at (650) 522-7700.
  • During normal working hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., please call (650) 522-7420.
  • After hours, non-emergency, call (650) 522-7300.

How do I contact the City's arborists?

  • During normal business hours, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, please call (650) 522-7420, or by sending an email to

Do I need a permit to cut down my own tree?

Will city personnel prune trees on my private property?

  • No, it is your responsibility to maintain trees on your property.

How can I find an Arborist to help me with my private tree?

Can I remove the street tree in front of my house and replace it with another tree?

  • You must have a permit before removing a Street Tree. There is no cost for this permit although a deposit may be required for a replacement of another tree. Typically, only trees that are dead, dying or structurally unsound are approved for removal with a Street Tree permit. 

Who is responsible for pruning street trees?

  • Pruning is based on a maintenance schedule and available resources. If you wish to have a Street Tree pruned before the schedule and/or available resources, you may obtain a free Street Tree permit.  Specifications from a licensed and certified tree care service that will be pruning the tree must be provided with application. The city does not reimburse for outside services that a homeowner contracts for.

Can a tree be topped?

My remodeling plans require the removal of a tree(s). What is the procedure?

  • A permit is required for the removal of any Street Tree or Heritage Tree. The permit should be coordinated with the building permit and issued prior to any work being done. There are also preservation requirements for Protected Trees near construction areas. Please be sure to have your contractor contact us before beginning any work.

I want to plant a tree.  Which species should I choose?

I received a notification letter and would like to appeal an application.  What is the process?

  • Following the procedures outlined in S.M.M.C. 13.40.130, any person may request reconsideration of the decisions of the Managing Arborist by submitting an appeal form to the Director of Parks and Recreation. Any appellants other than the applicant must pay an appeal fee in accordance with the City's master fee schedule. The appeal must be filed with the Director not later than five p.m. of the tenth calendar day after the Managing Arborist's decision. The Director shall review the request and render a decision.