Tree Trimming & Removal

Did you know that the City maintains approximately 2000 trees? Street trees are a simple and beautiful way to add value to a neighborhood. 

Besides providing shade during our hot summers, street trees filter air for dust and other particles, are important to the ecosystem by providing habitat, and they can also increase property values.

Street Trees

The City of Paso Robles has an adopted Street Tree List (PDF) of trees that are acceptable for planting in the City right-of-way.

City trees are generally located in the parkway between the street and sidewalk in residential and commercial areas. Some newer tracts have medians in which street trees are sometimes located. If you're not sure if maintenance of a tree is the responsibility of the City or a private party, please contact the Parks Maintenance Division before you trim. Please fill out an Action Request Form to notify us of a City tree that needs trimming or removal.

Annual Tree Removal Project

Each year the City identifies City-owned trees needing removal. These trees are either diseased to the point they are a liability or are damaging private property to the extent that maintenance is cost prohibitive. For example, a particular tree, the Modesto Ash, is systematically being removed and replaced throughout the City due to their widespread infestation with common tree diseases.

Around the time a tree removal project goes out to bid, a dot is painted on trees to be removed. This allows potential bidders (and eventually the successful contractor) to know which trees are to be removed. The City's budget only allows a certain number of removals per year and an effort is made not to remove all trees at once on a block.

Private Property Trees

Property owners are responsible for trimming and maintaining trees on their property. Oak trees are protected by local ordinance and have certain conditions and/or permissions required for trimming or removal. 

The City must protect public safety by assuring that private landscaping does not compromise certain views or otherwise create a nuisance. The City may leave a door hanger if a tree from private property is encroaching into the public right-of-way. It is the property owner's responsibility to remedy this encroachment.

Oak Trees

To maintain the heritage and character of the City of El Paso de Robles, as well as the city's beauty and unique identity, regulations have been created to promote preservation of oak trees

As revised by the City Council on August 6, 2002, the Oak Tree Preservation Regulations:

  • Designates the "Critical Root Zone" (CRZ) as the area in which care should be taken to avoid damage to the root system of oak trees. The CRZ is an area that is measured in relation to size of the tree trunk and is generally larger than the drip line (the drip line was the previously protected area). The CRZ cannot be manipulated by trimming the canopy of the tree.
  • Requires City Council review of requests to remove an oak tree that has a trunk diameter of 6 inches or greater as measured at 4.5 feet above ground level.
  • Calls for property-owners to obtain a permit from the Public Works Department whenever trimming oak tree branches 6 inches or greater in diameter on vacant, undeveloped sites.
  • Authorizes property-owners of already developed residential properties to trim oak trees without restriction as to the size of branches if there is no new development proposal under consideration (and as long as they do not endanger the health of the oak tree or kill it).
  • Establishes increased protection measures for oak trees on sites that are being graded and developed.
  • Requires the size of a replacement tree to be in proportion to the tree being removed and further requires the replacement tree to be the same species as the being removed.
  • Specifies limitations on who may conduct research and make recommendations regarding preservation and/or removal of oak trees. Only City Council-approved arborists are allowed to prepare reports.
  • Includes new penalties for violations (criminal, civil, and restitution of damage), giving the City Attorney better tools with which to enforce the regulations.

The Oak Tree Preservation Ordinance details these regulations.

Trimming

Oak tree trimming requires a permit (PDF) from the Community Services Department whenever trimming oak tree branches 6 inches or greater in diameter on vacant, undeveloped sites in conjunction with a building permit.  A permit is not required for developed private property trimming if there is no new construction or other development planned or occurring. 

There is a $50 permit fee required upon submission of the request to trim. 

For questions regarding trimming, contact the Community Services Department, Parks Maintenance Division at 805-237-3873 or Public Works at 805-237-3861.

Removal

In addition to a Removal Permit (PDF), removal of an oak trees requires submission of an arborist report, following the Oak Evaluation Guidelines (PDF), from a City Council-approved arborist (PDF), as well as City Council approval.

The application and an arborist are required when a property-owner is proposing to remove an oak tree that is 6 inches or greater in diameter as measured at 4.5 feet above ground level.

If you have questions about removal, call the Planning Division at 805-237-3970.

City / Public Property

If the oak tree in need of trimming is a City tree, please fill out an Action Request Form or notify Community Services at 805-237-3873.