Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if the tree in front of my property is a City tree?

Trees planted within the public right-of-way are City Trees. This area is typically between the sidewalk and the street but could include a portion of landscaped area in back of the sidewalk and varies throughout the City. Please contact the Street Services Section to determine if the tree in front of your property is a City Street Tree.

Does the City trim its trees?

Yes. Please see City Tree Trimming. Please also note that PG&E has the ability and right to perform their own trimming of City trees, to their standards, if it is determined that the tree is infringing upon electrical power lines.

Does the City top trees?

One common request is for a tree to be topped. Most of these requests are generated by property owners concerned about leaves or the safety of a tall tree. However, topping is not a horticulturally sound practice and weakens a tree in several different ways:

  • Topping starves a tree since such a large portion of the crown is removed. Good pruning practices do not remove more than one-third of the crown.
  • It encourages insects and disease.
  • Weak branch attachments result.
  • It can result in rapid growth which is actually denser than the non-topped tree.
  • Tree death due to shock may occur.
  • Topping ruins the natural form of a tree.
  • A topped tree costs more to maintain than a tree that is left to grow naturally.

The City, therefore, will not top trees. It will, however, select the proper sized tree for the growing area.

Some topping of street trees is done by PG&E under their power lines. For information call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

Does the City plant trees?

A property owner can request to have a City Tree planted or replaced in the public right-of-way pending approval from the Street Services Section. Once a tree request has been made, the proposed site is inspected and the property owner is sent a list of trees to choose from. See Tree Varieties.

The Street Services Section offers property owners a variety of trees that grow well in San Leandro, resist pests, cause minimal concrete damage, survive with minimal care by the property owner, and do not require frequent pruning when mature.

The property owner is responsible for watering, sweeping or raking leaves and flowers, and notifying the Section if something "doesn't look right." Watering is usually required for the first three to five years.

The City of San Leandro charges $100 per tree to plant or replace City Trees.  If a tree is damaged due to a storm, vandalism, or if run over, there is no replacement charge to the property owner.  If your request is for a new tree and there is no open space, there is a $50 concrete cutout fee, per 4'x4' opening.

Does the City remove 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:

  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 significant concrete damage and further damage cannot be prevented by tree maintenance measures such as root pruning.

With approval from the Public Works Director, 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 is required ($100). The replacement tree can either be planted onsite, or if the property owner does not want a new tree, a tree will be planted in a location of the City's choosing.

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, except in conformance with Section 5-2-215 of the San Leandro Municipal Code.

Does the City prune roots?

Upon request, the Street Services Section will remove or cut troublesome surface roots or roots which have the potential to damage concrete, only if the root removal can be done without seriously damaging the health of the tree. This is achieved either by hand or with a gasoline powered root cutter. This activity is encouraged because it can be an alternative to tree removal.

Does the City respond to tree emergencies?

Yes. Please call 577-3440 during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.). If the situation occurs after hours and can wait until the next business day, leave a message at 577-3400. If the situation occurs after hours and requires immediate attention, please call the San Leandro Police Department Dispatch at 577-2740.