Trees & Drought

The City of Santa Monica has approximately 33,000 street and park trees. A 2001 research study by the US Forest Service calculated these trees to annually deliver $2.5M dollars worth of environmental benefits to the community by cleaning the air, increasing property value and reducing energy use.

Research has also shown that a good level of tree cover can increase property value from six percent to nine percent. Drought directly threatens urban trees, as water is required for healthy growth and functioning. A lack of water causes high levels of stress, increases susceptibility to pathogen attack and can cause eventual death. 

Symptoms of Drought Stress in Trees

The following are indicators that your tree might be suffering from a lack of water:

  • Wilting of leaves and shoots 
  • Browning of leaf edges
  • Less deep green leaves
  • Smaller than normal leaves
  • Early Leaf drop and thinning canopy

Photo 1: A Young Catalina Ironwood Tree with Wilting and Browning Foliage 

How to Keep Trees Alive in the Drought

 Tree People 2

Urban Forest Master Plan

The City of Santa Monica Community and Cultural Services Department and the Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force are pleased to announce that the Urban Forest Master Plan has been unanimously approved by City Council at its meeting on December 13, 2011 with the amendment that Street Segment 120 – 21st St from Montana Ave to Wilshire Blvd not be inter-planted with Cercis occidentalis but have a palm for palm replacement. Prior to going to the City Council, the plan has been presented to the Planning, Landmarks and Recreation and Parks Commissions and the Task Force on the Environment with their comments incorporated into the plan where applicable. This long-awaited Master Plan will guide the perpetuation and management of Santa Monica’s urban forest over the next 50 years. The plan is a living document that will be evaluated and updated over time as new technologies and advancements in urban forestry become available.      

Copies of the staff report and the draft Master Plan are available at all branches of the Santa Monica Library and for review at the Public Landscape Division in Clover Park at 2600 Ocean Park Boulevard.  The Urban Forest Master Plan is the culmination of two years of community input and planning by the Task Force and we thank the many community members who participated in this process. 

Street Tree Removal Appeal

The Urban Forest Master Plan outlines a tree removal appeals process.  There are two types of appeals: 1. An appeal of a determination to remove a tree; or 2. An appeal of a determination that a tree cannot be removed- Exception Process. 


Click here for the Tree Removal Appeal Application

Tree Pruning Program & FY 2015-16 Tree Pruning Map

Santa Monica's tree pruning program encompasses all public trees citywide and the tree population is divided into four maintenance cycles: annual, 2-year, 3-year and 5-year. The FY14-15 map shows which trees and streets throughout the city will have planned tree maintenance between the dates July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016. Please note: proposed work may be subject to change. For more information about the program, please click here.  

FY15-16 Tree Pruning Map



Tree City

City of Santa Monica © 2015

Santa Monica Public Landscape Division, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 | p: 310.458.8974