Removing Trees

The City's street tree policy and maintenance program allows for the removal of street trees only under particular circumstances and assigns responsibility for the removal to either the City or the property owner.

The City will remove a street tree under the following circumstances:Tree Removal at Marina Park

  1. The tree is dead or damaged beyond repair by "outside" causes (storm, vehicle accident, etc.).
  2. Hazardous conditions exist (e.g. a tree in danger of falling over). 
  3. The City is engaged in a scheduled and phased tree removal program for tree replacement, or the City determines a tree has caused concrete damage and further damage cannot be prevented by tree maintenance measures such as root pruning.
With approval a property owner may remove the street tree in front of his/her home under the following circumstances:
  1. Removal is required for construction of a building, driveway, or other improvements (in accordance with approved plans).
  2. For other reasons where the City agrees that removal is advisable.

If an existing street tree is being removed a replacement tree may be required. The City will purchase and plant a replacement tree at no cost to the property owner. See Tree Varieties for a list of trees from which to choose.

If you desire to have the street tree in front of your home removed, and you feel the circumstances meet the guidelines listed, call the Street Services Section office at (510) 577-3448.

Note:  Section 5-2-200 of the San Leandro Municipal Code states that it is unlawful for any person other than the City or its contractors to remove, prune, injure or destroy a City street tree.

How the Work is Done

When we receive your completed application, we will schedule the work. Tree removals are done in three steps. First, the majority of the tree is removed by one of the trimming crews. The firewood is left on the property unless otherwise directed by the property owner. The tree trunk is left approximately five feet tall so that it is not a tripping hazard. The second step is when a different crew comes to remove the trunk and grind out the stump. The final step is the planting of the new tree.

Before deciding on tree removal, consider the benefits of trees. At the very least, trees increase your property value and keep your house cooler in the summer. In addition, trees contribute to neighborhood aesthetics, clean the air, reduce energy demands, and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It would be several years before new trees provided these same benefits.

To take advantage of these benefits by retaining the trees, there may be alternatives to tree removal if tree roots have caused concrete damage. If there is room, city crews can mechanically prune the roots to minimize future damage. If you are replacing sidewalk, there may be design alternatives that can decrease the possibility of future damage. Of course, only you can balance tree benefits against the possible costs of future maintenance.