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Tree Information and Permits
Saratoga is primarily a residential community where the economic values of properties are closely tied to the rural attractiveness of the city, much of which is attributable to the trees. The intent of the City’s Tree Regulations is to provide a sustainable urban forest and to balance the rights of property owners with basic standards for the maintenance, removal and replacement of trees.

Permits are needed before the removal of a tree protected by City Code, or pruning that is not consistent with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) pruning guidelines. Tree preservation plans are needed before any construction work is performed under protected trees. 

All trees are protected if they have a trunk diameter of 10 inches or larger (31" in circumference measured 4.5 feet above the ground). Additionally, native trees listed below with a diameter of 6 inches or more (or 19 inch circumference or more measured at 4.5 feet above ground). Protected native trees include:

 • Big Leaf Maple  • Black Oak
 • Blue Oak  • CA Buckeye
 • Coast Redwood  • Coast Live Oak
 • Douglas Fir  • Scrub Oak
 • Tan Oak  • Valley Oak

A permit is needed before a protected tree can be removed. More than one tree can be included on a permit application.

A permit is also required to prune more than 25% of a protected tree’s canopy or when the pruning does not follow the International Society of Arboriculture pruning guidelines.

To apply for a permit, submit an application along with a processing fee (see fee schedule) by mailing or bringing it in person to the Community Development Department at 13777 Fruitvale Avenue. 
(The fee is waived when applications to remove dead or fallen trees are submitted with photos documenting the condition of the tree.)

Tree Removal Permit Application

After submitting the application, the City Arborist will visit the site of the requested tree removal for a field inspection. If the request is permitted, the City will send a written notice to homeowners within 150 feet of the property. Neighbors are given 15 calendar days to appeal the staff determination. For emergency situations, the notification requirement may be waived to allow immediate removal of the tree. 

To see if a tree removal permit has been obtained for a particular property, visit the City's E-trakit site. When making a selection, search under "Projects". To report a tree being illegally removed, please call the Sheriff's Office at 408.299.3233.

City Tree Regulations 

Both the applicant and members of the public may appeal a decision on a Tree Permit. Appeal applications and the appeal fee must be received within 15 days of the City's decision on the application. After the appeal application has been submitted, it goes before the Planning Commission for consideration.

Appeal Application

Construction projects that occur near protected trees require a tree preservation plan and an arborist report.

Arborist Report Requirements for construction projects that will occur near trees
Tree protection Security Deposit Form 
Deposit Agreement Form

Brochure Summarizing Tree Removal & Protection Requirements  
American Society of Consulting Arborists - Referrals for consulting arborists
2020 by 2020 Tree Planting Challenge
Selecting an Arborist for Tree Work

Saratoga (Oak) Tree Protection and Care Handbook - how to protect and maintain oaks
Watering Trees in Drought
Cal Poly Selectree - information and photos of trees      
Trees are Good - Tree care information and tree company referrals
University of California Cooperative Extension - Santa Clara County 
Home & Garden Pests
Sudden Oak Death


Heritage Tree Application 
Heritage Tree Society of Saratoga - photos of outstanding trees in Saratoga

Kate Bear
13777 Fruitvale Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070