Street Tree Division
965 Fir Street, Chico, CA 95928
P.O. Box 3420
Chico, CA 95927-3420
IF YOU HAVE AN URGENT TREE PROBLEM , PLEASE CONTACT THE GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT AT:
Office (530) 896-7800
Fax (530) 895-4731
Urban Forest Manager
- How to Nurture Your Street Tree
- Tree Planting Application
- 2013 Free Trees Available
- Approved Street Tree List
- Tree Planting Standard Detail
- Tree Removal or Pruning Permit Application
- Approved Tree Services 2012
- Right of Way Explanation
- Finding Quality Nursery Trees
- PG&E Planting and Pruning Guide
The Tree Committee of the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission (BPPC) is currently working on a draft Urban Forest Managment Plan.
Click on this link to view the current draft. Your comments can be sent to Denice Britton, Urban Forest Manager, by clicking on her name at the right of the page. We appreciate your concerns and your comments.
Spring Planting is Here
It's beginning to warm up for spring, so the Street Tree Division will be having two Tree Planting Workshops in March. Citizens who are lacking street trees can obtain a free tree by attending the workshop and agreeing to care for the tree until it is established. Click here for more information. Tree species available for planting this spring will be purchased after the workshops and once permits have been approved.
Chico Street Trees
Research has shown that street trees provide real, quantifiable value for the community. The Chico urban forest creates a significant sense of pride and community identity, and is recognized as a key component of the community design element. Since 1984, the City of Chico has been designated as a 'Tree City USA' by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
The City of Chico maintains approximately 31,400 street trees and approximately 4000 planting sites and implements an extensive street tree maintenance program to prune and train young trees and properly maintain mature trees. These management practices improve tree structural strength, increase tree longevity and reduce future maintenance costs. Pruning and trimming practices performed by the Chico tree crew are guided by the U.C. Davis Five Step Pruning Guide. Tree maintenance is performed routinely in eight management areas or routes within the city.
Our Urban Forest History
Before he founded Chico in 1872, General John Bidwell had already started a tradition of planting trees. Pictures as early as 1861 show trees planted along the fronts of buildings, providing shade for the people and horses below. Many of these historical trees can be found throughout the city, particularly in the older residential neighborhoods near downtown. Chico’s tradition of planting street trees continues to this day.
The governing body for Chico’s Urban Forestry Program is the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, which receives its authority from the Chico City Charter Section 1006.1.B. The general policies of the program are contained in Chapter 14.40 of the Chico Municipal Code.
The Commission adopts standards, specifications and other regulations governing the planting, removal and maintenance of trees and shrubs necessary for carrying out the purposes of Chapter 14.40. The Commission also adopts a City-wide street tree plan controlling the planting of trees and shrubs in public planting areas. The policies adopted by the Commission are carried out by Street Tree Division Staff of the General Services Department.
What Trees are City Maintained? Right-of-Way Explanation
City street trees are located in the Right-Of-Way. There are three typical Right-Of-Way planting conditions along city streets: contiguous sidewalk, curb and gutter; sidewalk separated from the curb by a park strip; and no street improvements. In subdivisions built after 1960, the right-of-way typically extends 5.5 feet behind the contiguous curb, gutter and sidewalk. Most trees farther back from the walk are privately owned.
Where park strips are present, the right-of-way typically ends behind the walk. Where no street improvements occur, Street Tree Division staff verify the right-of-way lines using subdivision records. North-South streets in the older portions of Chico typically have 80 foot right-of-ways. East-West streets in the older portions of Chico typically have 60 foot right-of-ways. These can vary, so it is best to check if there are any doubts.
Currently, there are approximately 31,400 street trees within the public Right-Of-Way. Another 4,000 locations are available as future tree planting sites.
Types of City Tree Service
Tree pruning is performed by City tree maintenance staff, all of whom are certified tree workers or certified arborists. The current pruning program includes traffic sign and signal clearance, roadway elevation, palm tree pruning, downtown pruning, young tree formative pruning, and route pruning.
Tree and stump removals are typically performed by contractor. Lists are generated and assigned to the contractor on a quarterly basis. Emergency tree removals are often handled by City crews. Trees are removed if they are dead, dying, diseased, structurally unsound or if they cause significant root damage to a private parcel.
Pest control work on City street trees is performed on a limited basis. New insect pests such as the Asian wooly hackberry aphid can spread to the Chico area. These pests often do not have natural predators to keep them in check. Under these conditions, the City may establish a city-wide pest control program. Control measures for diseases are not typically used.
If you observe a large broken branch or other immediate hazard, please contact the Chico General Services Department at (530) 896-7800. Street tree crews reserve the first week of each month for service request tree work. Calls for service are reviewed and work is prioritized for response based upon need and hazard. Due to staffing and the number of requests received, it may take several weeks or months before completing a request. Citizens may request service by calling the Park Division at (530) 896-7800.
Tree Planting - Free Trees and Permits
The city of Chico established a Citizen Tree Planting Program in 2011, to promote the planting of trees by citizens under permit with the City. A number of free trees are provided each season (sping and fall), along with a workshop on how to plant trees. The citizen must agree to care for the tree until it is established, approximately 3 years in chico. After establishment, the City will prune the tree and take over its care. Where suitable, replacements for removed trees are given highest priority for new permits and free trees. For more information, contact Denice Britton at 896-7802.
Tree Maintenance Permits
If a citizen wants to have work done on a City street tree, the City can issue a permit for pruning, planting, or removal. Permit applications must be made to the Park Division. Only contractors with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certification are allowed to prune the City’s street trees. Trees that are removed usually must be replaced. New trees must be on the City’s Approved Street Tree List. The permit is valid for 60 calendar days. Prior to issuing a permit, the property owner must provide evidence of general liability insurance in the amount of $300,000. If a contractor is performing the work, the contractor must be ISA certified and must provide evidence of general liability insurance in the amount of $2,000,000.
Public Landscaped Areas and Maintenance Assessment Districts
A wide array of public greenways are located throughout Chico. These parcels are maintained by contract and are inspected by City staff. The City of Chico values the observations of its citizens. If you see broken trees, damaged plants, or malfunctioning irrigation systems in medians or other public landscapes, please contact the General Services Department Office at (530) 896-7800.