Every Little Tree Does its Part for Earth


Thinking of pruning or removing your tree? Know of someone who is? Better read this first!

Pruning or removing a street tree in the City of San Jose is illegal without permission. Street trees are the ones in the parking strip in front of your house and though they belong to the City, you are responsible for their care. Permits are required to prune or remove them – no matter their size. Trees on private property also require a permit to remove – but only if they are over 18”in diameter (measured 2 ft. from ground level). (For your interest, a pruning guideline is included on the website).

Permits for trees in the City of San José can be obtained by calling 408-277-2762.

You can help keep our neighborhood green by reporting illegal tree pruning or removal of street trees by calling 408-277-2762 or by sending an email to arborist@sanjoseca.gov.

The current fines are as follows:

Illegal Pruning fines: Illegal Removal fines:
0-6" diameter: $150 0-6": $300
6-12": $175 6-12": $350
12-18": $200 12-18": $400
18-24": $225 18-24": $450
Above 24": $250 Above 24": $500

To protect yourself as a homeowner, here are suggestions for people who wish to alter a tree: make sure the contractor has a contractor’s license (a regular business license isn’t enough). Make sure they carry workmen’s compensation in case of injury on the property. To choose a qualified tree person, you can check with the City Arborist or Our City Forest website: www.ourcityforest.org. They may cost a little more, but you get what you pay for.

Trees do a lot of good things for the environment and for the people and animals that live in it. They give take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen – what we need to survive. The amount of oxygen depends on the type of tree. Trees with broad leaves, such as maples, liquid amber, sycamore, give off more oxygen than those with needles, such as pine trees.

Trees also act like filters, cleansing the air of dust and pollution. The taller the tree, the more contaminants it absorbs. Trees also give off moisture and create shade, which helps keep the Earth’s surface cooler. When planted in cities and towns, trees cut down on the amount of energy needed to cool buildings. Tree roots prevent soil from washing away and slow the movement of pollution through the soil. Leafy trees help muffle noise, which is one reason they’re often planted along streets and highways. Birds and other animals build nests, rest and hide from enemies in trees.

Finally, having trees around just seems to make people more relaxed and happy.

Every one of us can do our part for the Earth!