Street Trees

· Street Tree Planting Project
· Tree Preservation
· Tree Maintenance in Emeryville
· Climate Resilient Street Tree List

Street Tree Planting Project

This project promotes beautification by planting street trees. Street trees are good for communities in many ways because these trees: 

  • Raise property values
  • Create privacy
  • Reduce the impact of the wind
  • Lower temperatures in the summer
  • Absorb air pollution
  • Lessen noise from the streets and highways
  • Make Emeryville look nice

For more information, contact Public Works at (510) 596-4330.

Tree Preservation

The city is actively promoting the on-going program to replace current trees, provide for installation of new trees, improve tree wells, and replace tree grating. In an average year, the city loses 5-7 trees to automobile knock-downs or pest infections. 

The city has also identified several areas where new street trees can be added, in addition to the resident requests we receive for new installations. The City Council has placed priority on our community preservation and beautification. This project will provide funds to add, upgrade, and replace street trees in the city's rights of way and public parks.

For more information, view the Tree Preservation and Sidewalk Repair Ordinance.

Tree Maintenance in Emeryville

The City of Emeryville Urban Forestry Ordinance was adopted in 2003 and modified in 2010.  The general purpose of the ordinance is to support the inclusion of trees throughout the City for environmental reasons, enjoyment of the community and promotion of public pride.  The ordinance also discusses public health and safety and serves as a guide for selection of trees that will be beneficial to the environment they will be planted in.

The Public Works Department has contracted with West Coast Arborists to provide tree maintenance services.  These include assessment and removal of hazardous trees, re-planting of trees and pruning of street trees maintained by the City.  Tree pruning is overseen by a licensed arborist.  The pruning strategy for public trees is to insure the main trunk is strong and allows for the tree to grow to its full height and breadth in a safe and healthy manner.  This requires pruning back of smaller limbs to insure the main trunk develops successfully and the tree structural integrity is preserved for long life.

The City will post signs on the streets where tree pruning is to be performed approximately one week in advance of work.

Responsibilities & Guidelines

The Public Works Department has the responsibility for maintaining all public trees in the city, the majority of which are located along city streets. The goal of the pruning is to make the public trees as safe and healthy as possible and to minimize any conflicts with pedestrians and vehicle traffic, traffic control devices, and signs and buildings. All pruning is performed according to the Tree Pruning Guidelines, developed by the International Society of Arboriculture.


During the pruning operation, the city staff attempts to achieve a minimum crown clearance of 14' over streets and 8' over sidewalks. All dead, dying, diseased, and hazardous branches are also removed along with any vines that may be growing into the tree. All branches are pruned back from buildings, away from street lights, and are cleared from utility lines that run from utility poles to a house.

During this pruning operation, trees are also checked for any structural problems. All structural problems will either be corrected, or if beyond repair, the tree will be evaluated for possible removal.

All newly-planted trees are given additional pruning during the first 2 years after planting. This pruning is to ensure the young tree develops with a strong branch structure. During the first 2 years, the tree stake will also be removed and the area around the tree re-mulched with wood chips.

Climate Resilient Street List for New Development Sites

The following list of recommended tree species is from Steve and Molly Batchelder of SBCA Tree Consulting and Emeryville’s current tree inventory, cross-referenced with the iTree GHG calculator. Low carbon sequesters have been eliminated from the list. Steve and Molly have gone through the list in March 2016 to update the recommendations for best species to plant in Emeryville. Drought tolerance and compatible growing conditions were prioritized. Developers and architects working on new development plans should consult this list of recommended tree species when selecting landscaping for their properties.

Water use ranges from drought tolerant, low, moderate, and high.  Moderate to high water use should be used sparingly and in park settlings with supplemental irrigation.

Stature is tree size at maturity. S is 20-30’, M is 30-60’, and L is 60-120’. These also are correlative with soil volume requirements, where S is 600 cubic feet of rootable soil, M is 900 cubic feet, and L is 1200 cubic feet. 

Drought tolerance can be improved by increasing the available soil volume requirements.

Download the Climate Resilient Street Tree List


Should you have questions regarding any positing or work to be performed on street trees in front of your property, please contact Public Works at 510-596-4330.