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Last Updated: May 26, 2017
The first thing you notice about Palo Alto? “It’s the trees".
The luxuriously leafy “urban forest canopy” lives up to the name. It’s only fitting, because the City itself is named for the El Palo Alto (“the tall tree”) coast redwood still standing in El Palo Alto Park on the banks of San Francisquito Creek. The City of Palo Alto is distinguished by the State of California and National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City-USA.
The City of Palo Alto is endowed with a large population of magnificent trees, native and non-native, on public and private properties. Trees are a source of shade, air conditioning and other environmental benefits, providing quality of life and economic benefits to the community, residents and businesses.
Palo Alto tree programs are aimed at sustaining trees in the challenging developed and natural areas that require careful planning and vigilant maintenance. The Urban Forest Master Plan was adopted by the City of Palo Alto on May 11, 2015 and targets important areas of environmental stewardship:
Tree management programs
Key staffing for both public and private program areas
Partnerships and education with community residents and Canopy, a non-profit organization
Administration of the tree preservation and management regulations adopted in 1996.
The Urban Forest Master Plan’s forest preservation goals will incorporate new landscape design requirements to address multiple goals including:
Protection of regulated trees
Shading of hardscape features
Compatibility with existing landscapes
No net loss of tree canopy
The City of Palo Alto welcomes you to browse our programs, use the forms and tools for best practices, find contacts and links, and learn from our educational resources and updated news.
Trees Need Water (Especially) During Times of Drought Palo Alto has done a great job in its water conservation efforts, and through its diligence, the community has cut water usage more than 33 percent compared to 2013 levels. While we need to conserve water, doing so may be impacting the City's trees, which are showing signs of stress.
Development and Trees When planning redevelopment of a property, or performing any remodeling, construction, or additions, you should familiarize yourself with the Tree Ordinance regulations that apply to your property. [more]