Frequently Asked Questions

My street tree is getting too big and needs to be pruned. Can I hire a tree service company or prune it myself?

Street and park trees may only be pruned by City tree crews. The City of Palo Alto employs experienced arborists and tree staff to manage our urban forest and provides tree services at no charge to its residents. Keeping operations in-house promotes consistency and the best management of tree health and safety. Call 650-496-5953 to request a pruning inspection (see Pruning). 

Can I plant a tree on the City’s right-of-way in front of my home?

The Urban Forestry Section plants and maintains trees on City property to sustainably manage Palo Alto’s street tree population. If you would like a street tree in front of your home, call 650-496-5953 and an arborist will determine if there is a viable planting site free of utility and hardscape conflicts. We will ask for your commitment to water and monitor the tree for at least five years after planting.

Who do I call if a public or private tree is interfering with utility lines?

he Urban Forestry Section works with the City of Palo Alto Utilities to maintain tree clearance from utility power lines (see Line Clearing Program). Communication lines are not cleared. Call 650-496-5953 so we can inspect the lines. Any pruning will be done by the City contractor at no charge to you.

My public tree looks sick or is infested with bugs! What can I do?

Call us at 650-496-5953 to report the problem. One of our City arborists will inspect your tree and determine if the tree requires treatment. For more information on this subject, please see Pest/Disease Control.

I’m remodeling my home. Do I need to protect my street tree?

Yes. The public trees in front of (and possibly adjacent to) your property need to be properly protected before the Building Department will issue your demolition and/or building permit. Tree protection instructions can be found here: Tree Protection. If you have any questions about tree protection, call 650-496-5953.

The construction will be far from the trees and won’t have any impact on them. Do I still need to protect the trees?

Yes. Even though the construction may not directly impact the tree, activities associated with the construction can. Tree protection fencing protects the tree and its roots from soil compaction, materials storage, utility trenching, etc.

Visit Canopy’s City Trees: Q&A page here.

Additional Tree FAQs Prepared by the Urban Forestry Section Arborist in charge of development, can be accessed here: FAQs

Please call (650) 496-5953 if you have any further questions about City-related tree services.