Urban Forest Management Program

right of way treesWelcome to the Urban Forestry Section web page for the City of Encinitas. The City is responsible for the maintenance of public trees and the urban forest. Staff has overall responsibility for all City tree concerns and is the liaison for the development and construction processes. In-house crews perform inspection, pruning and emergency tree operations. Staff also administers contracts with tree services companies who perform a wide variety of services (such as tree removal, pruning and stump grinding).

The City is fortunate to have such a beautiful population of trees, including magnificent individual trees, groupings of trees and native trees which give the City a unique character. Trees are a source of shade, air conditioning and other environmental benefits, and yield both a high quality of life and economic benefits to the community, including enhanced property values.

The City is dedicated to the planting and protection of its urban forest which is recognized as one of the City’s greatest natural resources. Sustaining trees in Encinitas’ developed environment presents a challenge, requiring careful planning and maintenance.

The City’s Tree Ordinance and Urban Forest Management Policy are the City’s primary regulatory tools to provide for orderly protection of trees, to promote the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life for the residents of the City, to protect property values and to avoid significant negative impacts on adjacent properties. By assuring preservation and protection through regulations and standards of care, these resources will remain significant contributions to the landscape, streets and parks, and continue to help define Encinitas.

The City also developed an Administrative Manual which established specific technical standards and specifications necessary to implement the Urban Forest Management Policy. The Administrative Manual is currently under review and some information is subject to change. We recommend anybody interested in how the proposed changes may affect them can contact city staff at the number below.

The City oversees the planting, pruning and removal of City trees in City Parks, street right-of-ways and on city property.

Property owners can request a permit to plant a tree in the street right-of-way, prune an existing City tree or remove a City tree themselves by submitting an application,  linked here, to the Engineering Department at City Hall. In addition, if a property owner contracts the work to a third party that party must be a licensed contractor with a valid Encinitas business license.right of way trees

Contractors who perform work on City trees or wish to plant a tree as part of a project must submit a City Tree Permit Application, linked here, along with their project submittal documents.

Please contact the Public Works Department for any questions at 760-633-2850.

Street Tree Selection Guide & Planting Guide

The City created a “Street Tree Selection Guide” (specie palette) of recommended street trees by considering trees that are known to perform well in the general climate conditions, and predominant soil types, which are typical in the San Diego County region. In addition, species were selected that are known to be more tolerant of the limiting conditions often imposed upon trees when growing in an urban environment (e.g. compacted soil, removal of organic matter and top soils). The “Street Tree Selection Guide” is intended to be a resource tool to refer to when selecting The Right Tree for The Right Place. It is a general guideline which cannot take into account site specific factors, such as exposure, microclimates, overhead restrictions, or poor soil drainage.

 Using the “Street Tree Selection Guide,” the City also created a “Planting Plan” that recommends the top four street trees for each street in Encinitas. Using the “Planting Plan,” property owners have a head start on finding trees that will perform well with site specific factors on each city street. 

Educations and Outreach

right of way treesAn array of brochures on tree maintenance, care and value are available free of charge at our Public Works facility.  The core educational elements regarding  trees are proper tree sighting, selection, planting, maintenance, and protection, which all contribute to enriching the quality of life in our community as well as the tree's ability to provide shade, beauty and erosion control.  To further support and educate the community on industry recommended tree pruning standards, the City provided the Encinitas Library with ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) related books on tree pruning standards which are available for the public to check out.  Information is also available at http://www.treesaregood.org/.

Involving the community to plant trees encourages better care of our community forests by providing a framework for action in the development of annual, systematic managements of our tree resources/assets through the following benefits:

  • Development of community forest standards;
  • Touches the lives of people within the community who benefit daily from cleaner air, shadier streets, and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well-managed urban forests provide;
  • Increases public awareness of the many social, economical and environmental benefits of urban forestry practices;
  • Elevates the public image of the City with regard to trees and provides a statement to visitors that we are a community that cares about its environment;
  • Helps to enhance community pride in presenting the kind of image many citizens want for the place they live or conduct business;
  • Provides increased opportunities and preference for access for financial support for tree projects and contributing to safer and healthier urban forests.

Pruning Schedule

The Street Maintenance Section proactively cares for the City of Encinitas' right- of- way trees using standards set forth by the International Society of Arboriculture.  The Street Maintenance Section provides tree care and maintenance for City owned trees in the right -of- way including routine trimming, planting and removal of dead and diseased trees.  Tree trimming is performed to maintain shape, remove dead or diseased limbs and remove potential hazards to pedestrians, cyclists, vehicular traffic, buses and emergency vehicles.  The Street Maintenance Section organizes, plans and oversees the annual contractual tree maintenance program.

Learn all about city-maintained trees with this interactive map, which includes everything from pruning schedules to species specifics.

Helpful Links

California Urban Forests Council   Non-profit organization dedicated to supporting urban forestry to improve communities through advocacy.

Arbor Day Foundation  Non-profit organization geared towards education starting with communities who care about trees.

Tree Care Industry Association Provides tree care companies and professional arborists with safety and education programs, publications and guidelines for tree service operations.

Society of Arboriculture  World leader in products that educate, inform, and offer the latest in arboricultural research and technology