San Jose has a tree ordinance that offers comprehensive details and guidelines on how to remove or trim trees. This enables monitoring and control of who works on trees.

You will need a removal permit to either trim or remove some trees in San Jose.

To enable you to understand which trees require you to get a permit, we have provided you with a summary of the ordinance. Here are details on which trees to get a permit for, how to get a permit, and when.

Tree removal permit San Jose

Remember, through San Jose tree ordinance guides, you learn more.

If your trees on private property are protected by the city tree ordinance, then you need to obtain a permit.

Some trees on private property can fall under heritage trees hence a permit is required.

Still not sure?

If you are still unsure, it might be best to speak to local tree services. They are all up to date on local laws and would be happy to give you free advice.

It’s worth noting they are unable to remove trees illegally as they would face heavy fines, so giving you correct information is in their best interests also.

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Can I plant or remove street trees in San Jose?

Yes. But you need to get a permit for any work to be done on street trees.

Whether it is pruning, planting, cutting, or removal, you need to get a permit from the city administration.

Each applicant must submit necessary details of trees, location, names, time, species, and anything required during permit application.

San Jose Heritage Trees

A heritage tree is any tree that has been identified to be significant in terms of species, qualities, girth, history, or height to the society. Such trees can either be on private or public properties.

San Jose City has its heritage tree list https://www.sanjoseca.gov/home/showdocument?id=2522.

The list is updated depending on the different things taking place around the city.

Here is also a link to the heritage treemap.

http://csjdotgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=260c3e55dbbf411194153aeb4ad9c958

Tree removal permit San Jose 2

Permit application in San Jose

To submit the application, you have to make sure that you provide all the details required for the permit approval.

The director of public works will review your application and provide a decision through a written document.

In case you have an objection, you have a period of 7 days to appeal the decision. When filing for an appeal, you have to make sure you provide details and information to support your appeal.

San Jose Diseased Street trees

The director for public works will cause or carry out inspection of street trees. In case any street trees are identified to be infested or infected, such that they are unhealthy, or posing danger to the public, they will be removed.

Any tree that fits this condition, will be either destroyed or removed completely.

Hazardous trees on private property

  • No person or owner will be allowed to keep, control or maintain, shrub, hedge or tree that is considered a hazard to the public or the streets.
  • No person or owner shall be allowed to own, control or maintain the existence of trees, shrubs, landscaping or hedge such that it obstructs traffic signs, control devices or street signs.

Are there penalties for illegal tree removal in San Jose?

Yes. It is illegal to remove protected trees in the city of San Jose without obtaining the required permit. Anyone found guilty of such offenses will be charged in a court of law, fined, jailed, or both.

The fines imposed can go to as high as $15,000 per offense.

Maintenance of Street Trees and Sidewalks

According to the San Jose city administration, the street trees, curb ramps and sidewalks are a crucial part of the city environment. As a result, there is a need for enough care and maintenance.

Due to this, the city expects the work to be an effort of property owners, the city, and the residents altogether.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.