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Urban Forestry

What is an Urban Forest ?

An urban forest is simply trees and vegetation in and around a town or city environment. In San Diego, the only part of the forest managed by public agencies is that which grows on public land such as along streets and highways, in parks, and around public buildings. Like a natural forest, an urban forest is an entire ecosystem which includes trees on both public and private property. However, unlike a natural forest, an urban forest usually needs help from people to survive.

Read more about maintenance of trees and their benefits. Get extensive resources on local urban trees, answers to tree questions as well as volunteer opportunities via the San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council.

The City's Street Division oversees the planting and maintenance of trees and other vegetation along streets, sidewalks, and other City rights-of-way. The program works closely with nonprofit organizations to increase the number of trees in the City and help improve the quality of life.

San Diego currently has an inventory of over 250,000 street trees. Working with the Community Forest Advisory Board, the Street Division encourages the planting of appropriate trees with the public right-of-way. We use creative and cost efficient ways to protect the sidewalks and other hardscapes in the City.

City of San Diego residents can request a street tree be planted in the public right of way, at no cost, if they agree to water the tree to ensure its survival. Many of these trees are planted by the Urban Corps of San Diego.

For more information, please visit Solutions to Tree Problems and our downloadable Tree Selection Guide (PDF). Street Division also provides 24-hour emergency response to alleviate or secure any hazardous condition of the alleys, sidewalks, trees, storm drain structures, street lights and signs.

Tree Selection Guide

Current street tree inventory includes over 30,000 palm and 220,000 various shade trees.

The City of San Diego's Tree Selection Guide (PDF) provides information about trees recommended for use in the public right-of-way. The guide encourages selections that are compatible with the planting location, thus preventing damage to public improvements, while ensuring species diversity.