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STREET TREE PLANTING

We plant street trees on sidewalks in neighborhoods with low tree canopy in partnership with residents.  
 

We also care for the trees for the first three years after we plant them. After the first three years, the Department of Public Works (DPW) takes over via StreetTreeSF, the voter-approved initiative to maintain mature street trees and repair tree-related sidewalk damage.

Interested in getting a tree near you? 

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WHERE WE PLANT

We prioritize free community plantings in neighborhoods with the fewest trees - where the benefits of each tree planted are maximized. To understand why, watch our video on Tree Equity and San Francisco’s Path to Climate Justice and Benefits of Urban Greening.

EMPTY BASIN?

If you want a tree to be planted in a site that previously held a tree (where a tree basin — a rectangle cut out of the concrete — is already present), we'll be able to plant it even if you are outside the priority zones. We appreciate your patience as we respond to requests one neighborhood at a time.

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01

Site Selection

Beyond the lack of trees, here are some of the criteria that go into our consideration:

  • Width of the sidewalk

  • Proximity to freeways, industrial sites, or any other environmental hazards

  • Presence (or lack of) major above & below ground utility infrastructure

  • Pedestrian & vehicular traffic

  • Proximity or access to parks, schools, or other highly used public facilities

  • Demand for trees by the community

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Site Prep

When the sites are finalized, we get the concrete cut and removed. We bring in the auger (imagine a giant drill) if the soil is rocky or clay-like, and apply compost before or on planting day. One or two days before a Community Tree Planting event, a large pile of wood chip mulch is dropped near the meeting location. The mulch is used to cover the bare soil of the new basin after the tree is planted. Any leftover mulch is removed from the site by the end of the planting day.

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Watering and tree care

We host a Community Planting Day on Saturday mornings twice a month, where we plant between 40 and 50 trees with the help of volunteers. Anyone can sign up to volunteer to plant trees with us!

We also plant trees during the week with the help of staff and our members of our Green Crew program (this is a urban forestry training program for underrepresented adults)

And we water every tree the day it’s planted.

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02

Outreach

We start our outreach at least 12 weeks before trees are planted by distributing door hangers and mailing postcards to adjacent addresses. We also host Community Meetings that anyone can attend to gather more information about the upcoming neighborhood planting. These Community Meetings are held in a public venue and are accessible via Zoom

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05

Species Selection

We plant drought-resistant trees and select the species to best fit the microclimate and other site-specific factors where they are planted. Learn more about tree species suitable for planting in different San Francisco neighborhoods on our Street Tree Directory page

Residents can also participate in the selection process from a list of options. Fill out the Tree Interest Form and let our planting team know you are interested in selecting the species.

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03

Utilities Check

We note site conditions — overhead wires, street lights, stop signs, underground utilities, etc. We pick potential planting sites that comply with the SF tree planting code and mark a 24 sq ft outline. Utility companies will mark the locations of their underground facilities. If any of them are too close to the planting spot, we will not plant the tree.

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06

Planting Day

We host a Community Planting Day on Saturday mornings twice a month, where we plant between 40 and 50 trees with the help of volunteers. Everyone is invited to participate, regardless of tree planting experience!

We also plant trees during the week with the help of staff and members of our Green Crew program.

And we water every tree the day it’s planted

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Have questions about street tree plantings?
Read our FAQs

Upcoming Community Meetings

Join our Community Meeting to learn more about an upcoming planting and get all your questions answered!

No upcoming events at the moment
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